MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines Health Service Command (AFPHSC) concluded its nine-day training for its mental health trainers at the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City earlier this week.
“The efforts of the AFPHSC Mental Health Team are manifestations of solidarity with those who are facing an invisible adversary that has long been misunderstood, and that has brought suffering not just to the men and women in the service, but also to their loved ones,” AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a statement Thursday night.
A total of 28 participants coming from the ranks of military and civilian psychiatrists, psychologists, chaplains, psychiatric nurses, social workers, and AFP allied health workers participated and completed the nine-day program which was completed last January 20.
Participants underwent seminar-workshops on stress debriefing, trauma counseling, and psychological first aid during the activity facilitated by AFPHSC head, Col. Edgar Cardinoza.
The training is part of the AFP Mental Health Program which is an organized and integrated approach toward the establishment of mental crisis prevention and intervention strategies.
This aims to conserve and safeguard the fighting strength of the military personnel and the organization as a whole.
“Hopefully, the pool of multi-disciplinary members in the form of our current AFP Mental Health Team will help us achieve and implement a holistic approach in attending to the mental health needs, issues, and concerns not only of our military troops and civilian resource but also of their families,” Gapay said.
He also expressed his support to the mental health teams acknowledging how difficult their job is in the holistic approach to attend to the mental health needs, issues, and concerns of all military personnel.
“I and my staff believe, and will definitely continue the same advocacy as I have right now. Our competencies are not limited to what we have only learned in the past, our ability to reach down to the smallest unit of our organization to promote mental health will undoubtedly make a difference,” he said.
On the same day, the AFP chief led the turnover of new metal prostheses to 25 military amputees currently confined at the V. Luna Hospital. The recipients who were incapacitated due to combat operations were given high-tech artificial limbs from Ottobock Philippines.
“The AFP salutes our battle casualties for the heroism they exemplified in the performance of their duties. While the prostheses do not amount to their exemplary act of sacrifice, I hope that it will help them ease back into their everyday lives,” Gapay said.
He also assured that the AFP will continue to address the needs of the gallant soldiers for them to continue performing their sworn duty of protecting the people and securing the state, with the mental resilience that will help them find inner peace.
“Let us embark on this battle united. We must find ways — innovate, integrate, and unite for us to heal from within, for us to be stronger as an organization highly trusted by its people to be the first and last bastion of hope in crises both natural and manmade. Let us give them the best we got,” he said. (PNA)