In a Zoom press conference last Apr. 29, chief of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Dr. Roland Cortez opened the topic of mental health during quarantine. It turns out mood disorders are on the rise due to the prolonged lockdown.
“Many people feel sad and slowly lose interest in life because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Cortez. He adds that 200 people call the hospital’s 24-hour hotline numbers since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) started last month.
This news can make us drop that pretendstobeshocked.gif. But honestly, the statistics behind it gives weight to our country’s current mental health problem.
NCMH’s solution for the rising depression cases is for people to turn to the arts. “You may opt to learn expressive arts that perhaps you may be good at in the past but because of the busyness of the present work you could not do,” says Cortez. Still, they remind us that they understand how unwinding is impossible during lockdown. “Of course we can’t unwind because we are on a lockdown basis but we should try to do something, other activities that we enjoy, like for example learning new skills.”
Apart from turning into arts for solace, Cortez also encouraged people to exercise. “Perhaps para makapag-exercise din by cleaning the house.” Taking deep breaths and being mindful are also some tips he relayed during this virtual press conference. “If you know how to meditate or practice mindfulness by just closing your eyes, thinking of the best activities that you did or best moments in life, then that would be best.”
These tips are kind of helpful. Although, we can’t help but notice that these are mostly band-aid solutions. What happens to people with severe depression and other mental health cases? Will meditation help? Are these distractions enough?
Just last Apr. 24, an ex-soldier Cpl. Winston Ramos suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was slain at a police quarantine checkpoint by Police Master Sergeant Daniel Floredo. Floredo was then charged with homicide. This is one of the cases where people in power used excessive force on a civilian with mental health issues.
At a glance, being misunderstood is often the case for folks with mental health issues. This is not what people with mental health problems need right now.
The best we can do is reach out to our therapists (if we have one) and mental health professionals. While distracting ourselves with hobbies and self-care can help us, let’s acknowledge that these are temporary solutions to a bigger problem.
Folks can reach out through NCMH 24-hour hotline numbers (0917-898-8727 and 989-8727). While we’re on topic, feel free to use our mental health resources available on our site.