BJMP offers ‘telepsychology” for stressed personnel, PDLs during lockdown
MANILA, Philippines – Jail personnel and persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) may address psychological concerns amid the enhanced community quarantine through a telemedicine channel, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said on Wednesday.
BJMP explained that a telepsychology scheme was placed in response to the nationwide jail lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which possibly placed additional stress to the jail personnel and on PDLs — whose relatives and friends were temporarily prevented from visiting.
“It is a psychological intervention program developed to help personnel release pent-up feelings and emotions, to have an enhanced capacity to cope with stress, enhanced tolerance and attain tranquility or peace of mind, and able to develop healthy coping skills,” BJMP said.
“For the PDL, the program allows them to develop a personal analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, be able to regulate their own emotions to pay attention to others, reduce anxiety levels and improve sleep quality, be able to apply self-care management and maintain good psychological well-being,” they added.
According to BJMP Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Division chief Dr. Irene Lim, said that the services would be rendered even if some of the BJMP’s personnel are working from their homes. These services, Lim said, will be available anytime for possible emergency situations.
As of now, BJMP manages 468 district, city, and municipal jails nationwide.
“Some of the mental health practitioners who are non-uniformed personnel are on a work-from-home status and unable to attend physically to our clients,” Lim said.
“But, that does not mean there will be no other alternatives in delivering mental health services to our colleagues and PDL clients,” she noted. “We can make use of the technology and other available resources to help our personnel and PDL to cope with stress during this public health emergency because of COVID 19.”
Recently, there were calls to grant temporary freedom for PDLs due to the threat of the latest coronavirus strain and the possible mass infection due to the high jail congestion rates.
Last April 9, BJMP admitted that the death of an inmate inside the Quezon City Jail could have been caused by COVID-19. BJMP Spokesperson Xavier Solda said that at least 21 detainees are now in isolation and have been tested for possible COVID-19 infection.
However, the Commission on Human Rights, one of the agencies watching out for the welfare of PDLs, said that they would continue monitoring the situation in case it is not feasible to release first-time, non-violent crime offenders.
As of now, Luzon and other areas are still under the ECQ due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Department of Health officials said that there are now 5,453 infected patients — 349 of which have already died while at least 353 have recovered.
Worldwide, over 1.98 million individuals have been infected, while 126,834 have died from the disease and 484,109 have recovered from it.
Edited by JPV
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