DOH-Calabarzon provides psychological 1st aid to 132 Taal evacuees

DOH-Calabarzon provides psychological 1st aid to 132 Taal evacuees

Come rain or shine. DOH-CALABARZON Regional Mental Health Outcome Manager Paulina A. Calo (in cream colored vest) provides psychological first aid to individuals still residing in various evacuation centers in Batangas City displaced by the recent Taal eruption.

By Glen S. Ramos & Benjamin F. Cuaresma

MANILA — The Department of Health-Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) has provided psychological first aid to a total of 131 individuals in various evacuation centers affected by the recent Taal eruptions.

Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an initial disaster response intervention to promote safety, stabilize survivors of disasters and connect individuals to support services. PFA is provided by mental health professionals and other first responders.

“We need to provide immediate safety for the well-being of individuals in evacuation centers including physical and emotional comfort. We need to calm them and orient emotionally overwhelmed or distressed individuals in order for them to cope with their present situation,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated.

“Especially now that we have the Delta variant virus, we need to provide everyone the proper information on how to stay safe and not to panic and prevent the transmission of the virus in evacuation centers,”

The regional office deployed five mental health & psychosocial support (MHPSS) teams led Ms. Paulina A. Calo, Regional Mental Health Outcome Manager by last July to provide support to evacuees.

“PFA is essential for people who feel emotionally distressed after a crisis event but there are some who may still need specialized help. Kasama dito ang mga indibidwal na nagkakaroon ng very serious emotional reactions, gaya ng pagiging disoriented at yung iba nawawala sa sariling katinuan at hindi na maalagaan ang sarili at napapabayaan na rin ang kanilang mga pamilya.”

“Pag mayroong mga kasong ganito, we immediately refer them to specialty hospitals for immediate and proper treatment,” Calo emphasized.

Calo visited evacuation centers in the towns of Alitagtag, Balayan, Balete, Laurel, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, San Jose, and Tanauan in the province of Batangas.

Meanwhile, a total of 287 children aged 7 to 12 years old were given art activity kits.

Director Janairo stressed the importance of giving special attention especially to children in evacuation centers because they are also affected by the disaster.

“Kailangang mapangalagaan din natin ang kanilang mental health by providing meaningful play and leisure activities gaya ng art activities na maari nilang magawa na kasama ang iba pang mga bata o ng kanilang mga magulang.

“This activity will help facilitate creative expression including social interaction with peers and collaboration. Parents can also provide support by providing guidance to their children in expressing their thoughts and imagination,” he added.

The regional mental health unit continues to conduct regular monitoring activities for evacuees still residing in evacuation centers in Batangas province.

A majority, however, of the evacuees already returned to their respective homes shortly after the Phivolcs lowered the Alert Level at Taal back to No. 2 Friday evening of July 23, 2021 or three weeks after the volcano’s recent restiveness. (ai/mtvn)

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