A COLLEGE of Science alumnus has formed a team to deliver free mental health and psychosocial support services, open to all who experience heightened anxiety, fear and stress caused by the global pandemic.

Gab Kintanar, a 2014 psychology graduate from the University, is leading a team of 105 volunteers called “Thomasian Mental Health Responders.”

The World Health Organization has cited mental health as an area of concern amid the pandemic, Kintanar noted.

“Although I saw organizations online offering telecounselling services, most of them were exclusive for frontliners. So, I was just thinking about those who are not frontliners but might need mental health support services,” Kintanar told the Varsitarian.



The team is composed of licensed guidance counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, school counselors, people with training on psychological first aid, and graduate students with specializations related to providing psychological support.

As of April 13, team members have provided psychological first aid to 327 clients experiencing overwhelming stress, anxiety, fear, and panic attacks.

“Psychological first aid is effective because it stabilizes the emotions of the individual and engages them in simple ways to overcome their current situation,” Kintanar said.

Telecounselling is provided to individuals with pre-existing conditions and who cannot get in contact with their personal mental health professional.

“There are quite a lot of people, [surprisingly one in three], with pre-existing condition who cannot get in touch with their [mental health] professional because of the enhanced community quarantine, and who cannot wait to be helped,” Kintanar added.

Volunteers undergo regular debriefing sessions conducted by select volunteers.

“We always reiterate to our volunteers that if they need to take a pause from taking clients, they can always tell us,” Kintanar said.

The Thomasian Mental Health Responders was conceptualized in March 22 and launched on March 27.


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