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COVID-19 related mental health concerns addressed

The Emergency Operations Center – Task Force is encouraging individuals experiencing signs of mental health issues to seek professional help from the Bacolod City Mental Health Care Center.

Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear during COVID-19 pandemic are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones, EOC-TF Executive Director Em Legaspi-Ang, pointed out.

Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia and anxiety, she said.

“Losing someone important to us due to COVID can be emotionally devastating – whether a partner, a family member, or a friend,” Ang continued.

When COVID cases were at its highest, many had lost their lives, she said.

As the pandemic wears on, necessary public health measures expose many people to experiencing situations linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as isolation and job loss.

Isolation due to pandemic restrictions also affect mental health and well-being, such as difficulty sleeping or eating, and worsening chronic condition that may lead to more stressful episodes.

“The effects of COVID-19 do not only limit to one’s physical condition but also a person’s psychological state. The EOC-TF, therefore, is closely coordinating with the BCMHC under Dr. Romeo Orcajada Jr., a psychiatrist, to help those who are suffering from mental and emotional conditions, Ang added.

The BMHC can be reached through Tel. No. (034)700 0647. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, Orcajada said.

Studies cited by the World Health Organization showed that depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

Some of the symptoms an individual may experience when having depression include: persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities people usually enjoy, difficulty carrying out everyday activities, loss of energy, change in appetite, sleeping more or less, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

“If you think you have depression, talk to someone you trust about how you feel or seek professional help. Mental health clinic is just one call away,” Dr. Chris Sorongon, EOC deputy for medical and data analysis, said.

“Depression can be treated. Don’t be afraid to seek help. With the right support, you can get better,” Sorongon added.

Acting City Health Officer Dr. Edwin Miraflor Jr., said it is important to try keeping up with activities that you normally enjoy while following minimum health protocols and stay connected with friends and family virtually.

“When the whole community is vaccinated against COVID, including other towns and cities in the province, we may slowly go back to normal. By the time we’ve reached herd immunity, we may slowly do normal things face-to-face and loosen our restrictions a bit,” he added.*

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