Knee-deep panic, persistent restlessness and sleep that’s either borderline paralysis or none at all—this sounds like a familiar scene for almost all of us right now. And it’s not even from “Black Mirror.” It’s real life, and these bouts of stress might already be anxiety.
An article by The Washington Post tells us that pandemic-induced anxiety is possibly making us sleep-deprived, forgetful, angry, irritable and easily distracted. It can also bring about changes in eating patterns, constant worry about yourself and others, and worsening of chronic and mental health issues, as listed by Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC).
“People often don’t realize that their difficulties with focus, memory, sleep and relationships can all be related to anxiety,” said Amelia Aldao, clinical psychologist and founder of Together Cognitive Behavior Therapy. However, people have different ways of reacting to the pandemic. Even though we see how this crisis affects the bigger picture—with terrifying death tolls and threats to the economy—we must not forget that getting a sanity check is as important.
Read more: How I’m dealing with quarantine loneliness
A story by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reveals that an epidemiologist sees the “next wave” of this pandemic possibly being mental illness. As “social creatures,” the self-isolation brought by the lockdown could lead to several mental health issues. To battle this, the Mayo Clinic Health System recommends some achievable tips: establishing new routines, keeping in touch with social circles, meditating and exercising. But most of the time, these practices can only do much. And we all know that consulting an expert is the best option there is.
But seeking professional help is even more difficult during the lockdown. To top it off, not everyone has the financial capacity to do so. So, where do we go from here? We need accessible platforms—and that could be hotlines.
Luckily, we have a couple of helpful numbers in our online directory. These belong to platforms that offer free counseling and psychotherapy services. Consider them as our go-tos when we’re running out of ways to cope.
One of these is UP Diliman Psychosocial Services (UP PsycServ), an org of licensed psychologists and psychosocial support specialists. Founded in 2017, it originally served students suffering from mental illnesses in the university.
For the ECQ period, Globe is offering free unlimited calls and texts to UPD PsycServ. This will allow their volunteers to respond to interested clients. To receive a call from their org, send a text or Viber message including your name and concerns to 09063743466 or 09167573157. You can also accomplish this form. UPD PsycServ operates from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Aside from UP PsycServ, there’s also New Good Feelings (NGF) Mindstrong, which adds their 2919 hopeline to the list. For Globe and TM users, this hotline is toll-free. We can also dial (02) 804-HOPE (4673) and 0917 558 HOPE (4673) for a much-needed mental and emotional assistance.
The ECQ also isn’t an ideal situation for many, including kids who live in unsafe environments. According to UNICEF, the 2015 National Baseline Study on Violence against Children found that two in three children in the Philippines have been victims of physical violence. Meanwhile, there’s one in 14 of sexual violence, two in five of psychological violence and two in three of peer violence.
To rally against child abuse, Globe has also joined forces with Bantay Bata for their #163 helpline. Globe and TM users will be able to report cases of child abuse through calls, free of charge.
Solving this crisis isn’t an overnight process, but teaming up could expedite it. Sometimes, the next best step is lifting spirits up, and we have the likes of Hope Bank to help us do so.
Hope Bank is an online community that provides us a virtual freedom wall to write messages to the frontliners and COVID-19 patients. Might as well call it the love language of our times.
So, if you’ve been needing a “vent buddy” now more than ever, always remember that your feelings are valid. All coping mechanisms are. We need that extra vibe check now more than ever, don’t you think?