As the lead agency in social protection, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also helping address the mental health needs of the vulnerable sectors amid the pandemic through its “Wireless Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Individuals and Families Affected by COVID-19 and other Crisis Situations” (WiSUPPORT).
Launched on April 30, the WiSUPPORT uses online platforms such as electronic mail, web portal, DSWD WiServ, telephone, and mobile application to provide the public with easy access to various communication tools to talk with a DSWD WiSUPPORT service provider on mental health matters.
Currently, project is being pilot-tested in the National Capital Region, Central Visayas, and CARAGA. Among the target clientele of WiSUPPORT are Overseas Filipinos in Distress, children in need of special protection , senior citizens, women in especially difficult circumstances, persons with disability, family heads and other needy adults, and other individuals and families in distress.
As of June 20, some 42 clients with mental health related concerns have accessed the different technology-based platforms of the project through the calls and text hotlines and through the web portal.
Generally, the cases of clients who accessed the platforms include heightened anxiety, fear of contracting COVID-19, depression, trauma and grief, feeling pressured, psychological impacts of losing a job, and mental condition due to contracting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The clients were provided with psychosocial interventions such as psychological first-aid and counseling sessions. It was also noted that there are clinically diagnosed clients who are asking financial assistance for their maintenance medicines.
DSWD’s partner-agencies in the WiSUPPORT project are the Department of Health, National Center for Mental Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Red Cross, Psychological Association of the Philippines, and the United Registered Social Workers.
For emergency cases needing immediate attention, clients will be assisted to be referred to psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health institutions who are members of the referral network such as the DOH and NCMH. Likewise, through the help of the Mental Health AWhereness PH mapping, integrated in the WiSUPPORT platforms, clients and service providers may also find agencies providing mental health services nearby.
Clients in the pilot areas from NCR, Central Visayas, and CARAGA Region may access the services of WiSUPPORT through the following:
Call Hotlines: 0947-482-2864 (Smart); 0916-247-1194 (Globe)
Text Hotline: 0918-912-2813
Google Play Store application: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cudavasol.wisupport
Web portal: wisupport.dswd.gov.ph
The DSWD emphasized that having a healthy state of mental well-being is instrumental in ensuring that families can cope with various challenges enabling them to better take care and provide for the needs of their members, especially during the ongoing health crisis.