Online counseling services in Baguio proposed
April 26, 2020
The city legislative body approved a resolution strongly urging the City Health Services Office (CHSO) and the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) to install toll-free hotlines and create online or virtual platforms through social media, vlogs, blogs, text messages, quad-media and other modes, to provide counselling services and mental health tips for the citizenry of the city.
The resolution authored by all members of the city legislative body stated that a brief review of the official websites of the CHSO and the BGHMC showed no existing links, toll-free hotlines, and platforms that can be contacted for individuals experiencing psychological stress or mental disturbance, especially during this quarantine period.
The resolution disclosed there are already incidents where individuals allegedly attempted to harm themselves as a result of stress due to the imposed enhanced community quarantine.
According to the Lancet, one of the world’s oldest, and best known general medical journal, recent studies conducted in countries where quarantine was strictly imposed as measure to stall the spread of the dreaded Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 showed that people who were quarantined are very likely to develop a wide range of symptoms of psychological stress and disorder, including low mood, insomnia, stress, anxiety, anger, irritability, emotional exhaustion, depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Dr. Violeta Bautista, clinical psychology professor and private practitioner, said that collective stress and anxiety are normal reactions to an abnormal situation and that the battle against the COVID-19 is a highly unusual circumstance with the capacity to challenge and destabilize mental health.
City legislators claimed that by providing available counselling platforms through various forms of social media, people suffering from stress due to the effects of the ongoing quarantine can easily seek consultations with mental experts to guide them in steps to undertake to prevent the same from worsening.
The CHSO was directed to closely coordinate with the BGHMC and the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) to develop online platforms and open up toll-free hotlines that could easily be accessed by the people without going to the said facilities. – By Dexter A. See
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