DSWD launches online mental, psychosocial assistance in NCR, two other regions
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has introduced an online platform to address mental health concerns and provide psychosocial assistance in Metro Manila and two other regions.
The agency said Wednesday it launched on April 30 its “Wireless Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Individuals and Families Affected by COVID-19 and other Crisis Situations” or WiSUPPORT in order to make consultations and counseling more accessible to people struggling with mental or psychosocial issues in this time of a pandemic.
WiSUPPORT, DSWD said, taps e-mailing services, web portals, DSWD’s website, telephone, and mobile applications in pilot areas of the National Capital Region, Central Visayas, and Caraga Region.
To explain DSWD’s move to start such an initiative, Secretary Rolando Bautista explained: “The constant worry and fear of being infected by the virus and economic concerns of providing for their families, coupled with family conflicts and disasters amid the pandemic have brought anxiety, mental, and emotional distress to a lot of people.”
“Hence, as the lead agency in social protection, and as part of the DSWD’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan, the Department sought more accessible ways for the provision of psychosocial support to Filipinos affected by the pandemic.”
DSWD said the WiSUPPORT program can also be a hotline for emergency cases that would need immediate attention, as they would be referred to psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health institutions who form part of the referral network that includes the Department of Health (DOH) and National Center for Mental Health (NCMH).
“Among the target clientele of WiSUPPORT are Overseas Filipinos (OFs) in Distress, children in need of special protection (CNSP), senior citizens, women in especially difficult circumstances (WEDC), persons with disability (PWDs), family heads, and other needy adults (FHONA), and other individuals and families in distress,” DSWD noted.
Those who may need consultation can contact WiSUPPORT through the following hotlines and online platforms:
Call Hotlines: 0947-482-2864 (Smart), 0916-247-1194 (Globe)
Text Hotline: 0918-912-2813
Email: [email protected]
Google Play Store application: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cudavasol.wisupport
“The DSWD pledged to continue to coordinate with appropriate mental health providers and organizations to become more responsive to the needs of the population, especially during the ongoing health crisis,” it stressed.
With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting people’s movement and interactions to avoid transmissions, health experts warned that the world may see a rise in mental health issues as people cope with checked emotions.
Official data from local and international health bureaus have noted a sharp increase in mental health concerns due to the pandemic.
A study recently published at The Lancet Psychiatry journal said that not only non-COVID-19 patients are susceptible to mental illnesses as they found out that one-third of recovered patients experience mental and neurological problems.
As of May 5, the Philippines has 1,073,555 confirmed COVID-19 infections, of which 62,713 are active cases.
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