NCMH sees growing anxiety, feelings of sadness among hotline callers
MANILA, Philippines — Anxiety, and feelings of sadness because of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have marked an increase in calls seeking help in its mental health hotline, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) said Wednesday.
“Tumaas po yung tawag ng aming mga clients with issues regarding anxiety. And of course, so does the subsequent feeling of sadness and feelings of being down, not necessarily depression kasi hindi natin dina-diagnose yung ganun over the phone but yung feelings po ng ganon, napansin namin na tumaas talaga siya,” NCMH 24/7 Crisis Hotline’s program director Dr. Bernard Argamosa said in an online forum.
(The calls about anxiety have increased. And of course, so does the subsequent feeling of sadness and feelings of being down, but not necessarily depression since we do not diagnose that over the phone.)
Months into the pandemic, Argamosa said they are not seeing the number of calls which average 1,000 monthly to decrease anytime soon.
“The National Center for Mental Health crisis hotline po has been in existence since May of 2019. From May 2019 up to around December, ang average po namin is 350 to 400 calls in a month,” Argamosa said.
(The National Center for Mental Health crisis hotline po has been in existence since May of 2019. From May 2019 up to around December, our average is 350 to 400 calls a month.)
“But starting po nung March hanggang ngayon, ang tawag po namin is a thousand calls per month. Ganun po siya kadami. Dumami po siya during the pandemic. And hindi pa po namin nakikita kung bababa siya nine months into the pandemic, six to nine months,” he added.
(But starting March until now, the calls have reached a thousand per month. It is that many. It increased during the pandemic. And we don’t see it going down nine months or six to nine months into the pandemic.)
It was in mid-March when the government started imposing community quarantine in several parts of the country, prohibiting the unnecessary movement of the public to curb the transmission of the coronavirus.
Although some restrictions have eased, the public is still discouraged from going out unless it is for work or for accessing basic goods.
Earlier, the Department of Health encouraged the public who may be experiencing anxiety to look for someone to talk to, while noting that “it is okay not to be okay.”
The NCMH crisis hotline may be reached through 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline-landline, toll-free).
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