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It’s okay not to be okay: Our insights from a deeply personal discussion about mental health

It’s okay not to be okay: Our insights from a deeply personal discussion about mental health

The truth of the matter is: Life can get pretty overwhelming—and admitting that you need help dealing with your inner demons can be a difficult pill to swallow.


In order to fight the stigma and common misconceptions about mental health, last Feb. 8 San Mig Light released a capsule collection dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues for their 20th anniversary celebration. In line with this, the collection was debuted alongside a much-needed panel discussion about mental health.


Mental health is a complex issue that intersects with congenital chemical imbalance, personal trauma and even social status. Aside from the stigma that discourages people from seeking help in fear of being branded, there is also the issue of professional help being too expensive for the average Filipino.

To break down these issues firsthand, the panel discussion was led by speakers who, aside from being established creatives, personally understand what it’s like to deal with mental health issues within the country: “Van Gogh is Bipolar” restaurant owner Jetro Rafael, contemporary artist and painter Tokwa Peñaflorida and published writer and events organizer Regina Belmonte. The discussion was moderated by Kara Gonzalez.

Each one had deeply personal stories about their own journeys dealing with mental health issues. For those of you who need advice or reassurance that your situations are valid, we’ve highlighted some of their inspirational words below.

“I felt like I was projecting… I got loud around people, maski hindi talaga ako ganun. After the diagnosis it was a process talaga of acceptance. During the process dun mo marerealize kung sino kasama mo nung ikaw ka talaga.” – Tokwa Peñaflorida

“[After being diagnosed] there was a sigh of relief. Okay, so there is something wrong. I can do something to fix it.” – Kara Gonzalez

“Don’t judge it [mental health issues]. Yes it’s real. I acknowledge it. This generation…di sila takot magpakatotoo. I admire that.” – Jetro Rafael


“I come from publishing, from a family of journalists…Having that fall apart opened doors to all the other adventures that we’re doing now. Like how did a writer end up as a events producer? You can discover new pathways” – Regina Belmonte

“About self-diagnosis, there’s a danger in that… Pero sometimes kapag wala ka talagang ma-afford at gusto mo lang malaman if something’s wrong. It can be the first step to seeking professional help.” – Jetro Rafael


If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or need any type of guidance regarding your mental health, please contact the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) through their 24/7 hotline at 0917-899-8728 and 989-8727


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