Calls from adolescents at mental health crisis hotlines go up — NCMH | Inquirer News

Calls from adolescents at mental health crisis hotlines go up — NCMH

/ 01:29 PM August 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Calls from adolescents at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) crisis hotlines have been increasing due to stress from school and limited outdoor activities triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of its officials said Tuesday.

Dr. Agnes Casiño, a psychiatrist and technical consultant, said that calls at the NCMH crisis hotlines have been increasing since early 2020, when the pandemic started to take its toll on the country’s health and economy.


She did not provide exact figures, but she noted that calls across all populations — not just among adolescents — have increased by up to four times as compared to calls before the pandemic.


“What’s alarming is ‘yung mga younger ones, medyo mga bata, calling they wanted to talk to someone for mental health consultation or services. Medyo tumataas din ‘yung calls na ‘yun,” she said in an online media forum.

(What’s alarming is the younger ones are calling to talk to someone for mental health consultation or services. The figures for this are also increasing.)

“Most of them are mga nasa adolescence. Most of them, ang calls nila ay ‘yung stress from school, ‘yung nasa bahay lang at hindi sila makalabas. Ganoon ang mga concern nila, but so far wala namang extreme na cases talaga na they are really in distress that’s why they called,” she added.

(Most of them are in their adolescence. Their calls are mostly related to stress from school. They are restricted at home and could not go out. These are their concerns but so far there was no extreme case that they are really in distress that’s why they called.)

The Department of Education has implemented a blended learning method to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in schools. The agency said the coming school year will start on September 13, but face-to-face classes will remain prohibited unless permitted by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Casiño was discussing mental health when he mentioned the number of calls being received by the NCHM from younger people. But among the general population, she said that individuals whose mental health is most affected are those associated with health, economic, social, and cultural issues.


To address mental health concerns among children, Casiño said parents and guardians should help them find positive ways to express their feelings such as fear and sadness. She added that they should also discuss COVID-19 to their children in an honest way that is also appropriate with their age.

The NCMH crisis hotlines can be accessed by contacting 1553 for landline, 0966-351-4518 or 0917-899-8727 (USAP) for Globe and TM subscribers, and 0908-639-2672 for Smart, Sun, and Talk N Text subscribers.

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TAGS: adolescents, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, mental health, NCMH

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