THE COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly triggered various medico-social and psychosomatic burdens on society, especially on those with chronic diseases.
Responding to this problem, the EPCALM Adult Leukemia Foundation of the Philippines (EPCALM) and the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) are taking on the task of advocating public awareness on mental health and well-being, with the view to provide practical and workable solutions to related challenges many are facing today.
According to Dr. Erlyn C. Demerre, EPCALM Founder and PCP Advocacy Committee Chair, “People living with chronic physical conditions, such as cancer and heart diseases, often experience emotional stress and recurrent symptoms or prolonged pain,” and added that “these can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression, which affect the quality of life and productiveness.”
“Although depression and other mental health challenges are common, these have escalated because of the current pandemic. Among those seriously affected are people who have chronic illnesses or pre-existing mental health challenges.”
In this light, EPCALM and PCP are jointly organizing “Hope for Mental Health: A Mother’s Story” on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 6:30 P.M.
The online event on mental health awareness will highlight the personal stories of nine mothers who will share how they cope with their children’s depression, illness, the challenges of online learning, and life after suicide.
Experts who will present their professional insights and learning points include: Dr. Jasmine Vergara of the World Health Organization (WHO); Dr. Salvador Benjamin D. Vista of the UP College of Medicine and the Asian Hospital and Medical Center; Dr. Robert D. Buenaventura of the MTC College of Medicine; Dr. Bernadette Manalo-Arcena of St. Luke’s Medical Center; and Dr. Erlinda Susana Cuisia-Cruz of The Medical City.
The event will also be graced by special guest performances from Kuh Ledesma, Martin Nievera, Pops Fernandez, Top Suzara, and Stephen Ku.
Mental health is the banner advocacy of PCP – a 60-year-old organization of about 10,000 internists in the country. Headed by Dr. Mario Panaligan, PCP’s 16 component societies, as well as 30 chapters nationwide, are united to heighten mental health literacy through awareness campaigns and webinars.
In like manner, EPCALM, the first and only of its kind that reaches out to adult leukemia patients and their families, recognizes that grief and suffering could lead to anxiety and depression, even as they journey to wholeness. Since 2013, EPCALM has organized grief management conferences, with the view to achieving a better understanding of grief.
Thus, imbued with a common advocacy to take care of the sick to promote physical and mental well-being, and consistent with the priorities of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH), PCP and EPCALM have joined hands to address the looming threat of mental health challenges on society, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hope for Mental Health: A Mother’s Story” will be livestreamed via the EPCALM and PCP Facebook Pages, YouTube, and Zoom. Zoom attendees may join through this link: https://bit.ly/2JGGqJD with Webinar ID: 876 6583 3881 and Webinar Passcode: 778947.