Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Remove the Stigma: It Is Okay Not to Be Okay

by Winona Jane Agir | November 26, 2021

The Department of Health (DOH), in unison with the World Health Organization (WHO), is raising awareness on the significance of public mental health, most importantly, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the global optimism index, the Philippines has constantly ranked in the Top 5. A significant increase from 80 calls from pre-lockdown to nearly 400 in monthly hotline calls concerning depression has been shown by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH). People aging 15-29 years old are the most vulnerable population, and mental health-related deaths are likewise the second leading cause of losses in this age group.

These increasing numbers prove that it is essential to have conversations and programs to break the stigma about mental health.  So, for the people who:

Feel lost,  

There are times when you are not sure where you are headed, and that is okay. There might be a point in your life when you do not know what to do, but always remember, you are stronger than your emotions. You have the power to control what to think and feel. You will find your way. Be patient and trust God;

Feel sad,

Life is not all sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies. We experience different emotions every day. Learn to embrace what you feel. Embracing and accepting what you feel is the first step to healing. Then, find what makes you happy. Do something that can make you laugh. Be with nature. Spend time outside;

Feel betrayed,

Betrayals by the people close to us give more damage and pain. When the trust and bond are broken, you feel like you lost a part of yourself, and it is okay to go through some detachment. You can take time away because everything you feel is valid. However, do not forget to forgive. Forgiving is one of the bravest things you can do to someone who betrayed you. It does not need to happen overnight. Just trust His process;

Feel anxious,

Do not overthink and try to interrupt your thoughts. Do something new. Go out and spend time outside. Breathe. Talk to people or listen to music. God has better plans for you. God is in control. Just focus on what you have right now and keep striving to do your best. Pursue your dreams and trust His timing;

Feel stressed and tired,

You deserve to take a break. You have come so far, and you did well. Do something that can help you restore your energy. Play your favorite game, binge-watch a movie, read a book, hang out with your friends, go to your favorite restaurant and eat your favorite food or take a nap at your comforting bed. Please be kind to yourself.

Are struggling, 

Would you please go easy on yourself? Everything happens for a reason. You may not understand why you must go through all of that, but eventually, everything will be clear to you. You will realize that you had to withstand that experience to grow, be stronger, and learn something. Use that struggle as motivation and opportunity to be better because that difficult chapter will pass and will not last forever;

And for the people who are fighting silent battles, 

The bravest souls are those who do not talk about their struggles and pain. You are indeed a strong person, and you can survive anything life throws at you. But please do not hesitate to reach out. In case it is no longer manageable, seek professional help. You are not alone. God is with you. Your family, friends, and loved ones will always be there for you. Do not forget that time is precious. Be happy and keep moving.

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