February 3, 2023

To manage stress, depression, and anxiety, focus on the things you can control, an expert on mental health advised.

Dr. Jovy Anne Jimero-Tangalin of the Department of Psychiatry of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center gave this advice during the Dagyaw 2020 Cordillera Regional Virtual Townhall meeting, dubbed “Usapang mental illness and wellness. ”

Tangalin said to cope with depression during this pandemic, people  should take care of their body and spirit,  focus on things that they  can control, take breaks from stressful thoughts about the pandemic, take time out for activities  they enjoy, find ways to exercise, and take up a relaxation practice.

She added people should also stay connected even when physically isolated and make it a priority to get in touch with friends and family.

“Personal conversation is like a vitamin for one’s mental health and social media can also help, though on both instances do not let the Covids-19 dominate the conversation,” she added.

Tangalin said the BGHMC has a tele-psychiatry consultation through its Facebook page, BGHMC Psychiatry Mental Health Support and Services and through 0956-006-9808 and 0951-599-8778.

BGHMC receives an average of 15 calls/SMS per day and an average Facebook consultations of 20 per day, she added.

Tangalin said during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, around 450 million people globally suffer from mental and behavioral disorders and around 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from one kind of mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.

She added at the BGHMC, the top three recorded disorders among patients are depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety.

Depression and anxiety disorders, if unmanaged, can lead to health problems and suicidal tendencies at worst.

BGHMC recorded 143 suicide cases since the pandemic, Tangalin said.

The other speakers in the  “Usapang Mental Illness and Wellness”  are Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Inc. Executive Director Cynthia Dacanay-Jaramillo who  talked about “Women and mental health” and  Dr. Mary Pauline Espiritu-Namoca of the Saint Louis University Department of Psychiatry who gave a presentation on “Work-life balance.” – Carlito C. Dar