‘Take care of yourself to help others’ – mental health advocates

Photo by Alyssa Carmina A. Gonzales

MENTAL health advocates urged Thomasians to take care of their personal health to be in a better position to help prevent depression and suicide among young people.

“When you say you’re advocating for mental health, it also involves a certain sense of taking care of yourself. [It is] not being selfish because you will be able to take care of other people,” Dr. Maria Imelda Batar told the Varsitarian last Sept. 15 during the “Stop the Stigma: Youth Mental Health Caravan.”

Dr. Ronaldo Elepaño III, a consultation-liaison psychiatrist, said people should understand the signs of depression.

“Look for signs and understand that depression is a real illness. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,” Elepaño said.

Dr. Geraldine Lobo from the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health said recognizing warning signs and getting help is an efficient way to prevent suicide.

Batar, a UST psychology and medicine alumna, said mental illnesses should be treated like other physical illnesses.

“It does not mean that once you are diagnosed with a mental illness, you do not have a future,” Batar said.

The doctors also urged Thomasians to sign a petition online to pass the mental health bill in Congress.

“Before the year ends, we shall have a national mental health bill, but the work [does not] stop there,” Batar said. “We have to make sure that the spirit behind the bill will be retained.”

The caravan was held at the Miguel de Benavides auditorium and was organized by the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, the Department of Health and the Philippine Psychiatric Association, in partnership with the UST Central Student Council (CSC).

The CSC will be distributing blue and purple ribbons to the Thomasian community until Sept. 18 as part of a campaign for mental health awareness.


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