Mental health plans pushed to thwart COVID-19, quarantine blues
MANILA, Philippines — The government should also have measures to protect the mental and psychological health of Filipinos amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, detained Senator Leila De Lima said Monday.
De Lima said that “the collective feelings of fear, anxiety and sorrow” as the country faces the continuous threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting “many” Filipinos.
“A new concern is surfacing — the mental and psychological health of people. If not immediately addressed, it will be like a poison that will creep through the lives of many in ways that could sometimes be more lethal,” De Lima said in a statement.
“In a time where uncertainty fills the atmosphere, stress and anxiety push everyone closer to the brink of despair, from our government officials and enforcers of the ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) to our frontline health workers to the people who are forced to stay at home to avoid further spreading of the virus,” the senator added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine as a part of the government’s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Under the enhanced community quarantine, “strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households; transportation shall be suspended; provision for food and essential services shall be regulated, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented.”
During this period, De Lima said that measures to ease the mental, emotional and psychological state of Filipinos should also be included in the government’s crisis response plan.
The senator also underscored that there should be proper implementation of Republic Act No. 11036, or the “Mental Health Act” during the fight against COVID-19.
“Halo-halong lungkot, kaba, takot, paranaoia at pag-aalinlangan ang nananaig sa bawat mamamayang Pilipino at patuloy pa itong mananaig hanggang sa mga susunod na araw, o linggo hangga’t wala pang lunas sa malubhang sakit na ito at patuloy na tumataas ang bilang ng mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa ating bansa,” De Lima said.
(A mix of sadness, fear, paranoia, and uneasiness is prevailing among Filipinos and this will continue to persist in the next days, weeks, or until there is no solution yet to this sickness as more COVID-19 cases are confirmed here in the country.)
De Lima reminded the public to always check on one another, “even those who we think are the strong ones.”
“I pray for all our kababayans (countrymen) – may the Filipino fighting spirit win over the dark thoughts that loom our minds, and may we offer compassion and kindness to one another during these trying times,” De Lima said.
“While obliged to keep physical distance from each other, may we not be socially disconnected from one another,” she added.
The Department of Health (DOH) announced that there are 1,418 cases of COVID-19 in the country as of Sunday afternoon.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which surfaces have a crown-like appearance.
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