EVEN athletes can suffer from mental health problems especially during the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
And when they need help, there’s help coming by calling Call A Friend PH online consultation services.
“Call us and we’ll do our best to help,” said Call A Friend PH founder and swimming champion Nikki Pamintuan during the 14th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom recently.
“Mental health matters. We want people who suffers from mental health problems to know that there’s help coming,” said Pamintuan during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
A three-time UAAP Juniors Swimming MVP and two-time Palarong Pambansa top athlete, Pamintuan admitted she went through the same experience but overcame it through help of family and friends.
Her fellow Call A Friend PH founder and fencing champion Darylle Lumahan also experienced mental health problems.
Now, both Pamintuan and Lumahan are reaching out and offering a helping hand to fellow athletes and other individuals who need help.
“We are getting in touch with the PSC and other top officials to offer our services. Basically halos lahat ng members namin ay national athletes so were working on it since our lau”ch two to three months ago,” explained Pamintuan, a member of Philippine women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team which won the bronze medal in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
She admitted the pandemic is affecting a lot of people.
“Marami talaga ang naapektuhan ang mental health dahil sa mga nangyayari around the world. People tend to forget their mental state, which should be their priority. Our organization would like to share our experiences and own thoughts on why it is important and why people should take notice of this and how this can affect the person’s life.
Asked about how the Call A Friend PH started, Pamintuan said:
“Before the pandemic, binuo na namin ang Call a Friend ni Darylle (Lumahan). Parehas po kami ng nakaranas ng mental health problems as a student athlete. Hindi lang kami normal athletes dahil dalawa ang aming priorities — studies at sports.”
“As a scholar at La Salle, I have to know how to balance and do multi-tasking kahit may problema ka. It’s really hard being a student athlete pero kinaya namin.”
Added Pamintuan: “When you’re depressed, iisipin kaagad na nag-iinarte ka, when in fact, totoo at sobrang nakaka-drain lalo na wala kang mapagsabihan o wala kang mahanap ng makakaintindi sa iyo. Yun ang motivation namin ngayon. Gusto naming makatulong sa mga tao dahil alam namin yung feelings na pag may problema ka at parang wala ka makausap na tao.
”Pamintuan said there are now about 20 Call A Friend volunteers willing to listen and help.
“Right now, we are still working on having a hotline, pero meron na po kami nahanap na mga tao na kapag may tumawag sa kanila 24/7. It’s open sa lahat kahit hindi athlete at walang minimum at maximum age limit. Depende kung sino ang may kailangan ng tulong. Also, meron kami naka-backup na volunteer. She’s my friend and currently working as a licensed nurse in Vancouver, Canada. May background siya in case na hindi namin kaya or hindi namin alam kung paano tulungan ang mag-aaproach sa amin.”
Pamintuan, winner of six medals in the UAAP Season 82 swimming competitions, is also looking forward to get back into serious training by January.
“Sa 2019 SEA Games in Manila, I was not able to join. But I intend to get back into action. Kahit naman anong problema sa buhay, may solution. We have to move on,” Pamintuan told editors and reporters during the forum.