Minding Mental Health, Caring for our Healthcare Heroes

People respond differently to events of great stress, such as a disease outbreak. While it’s completely normal to feel fear or worry, dwelling too much on those emotions can take a great toll on mental health. A study conducted by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health revealed that the global prevalence of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic was at 24 percent and 21 percent respectively, demonstrably larger than before the outbreak.

With the COVID-19 wreaking psychological distress on multitudes of the general public, how much more for the healthcare workers (HCWs) who continue to operate at the frontlines? To provide an additional lifeline of hope to HCWs in the Philippines, ASSIST, in partnership with international healthcare nonprofit Project HOPE, Argao Center for Psychological Services, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, and the Department of Health launched its first mental health initiative: Healing, Education, Resilience, and Opportunity for Healthcare Workers in the Philippines (HERO-PH) Mental Health & Resilience Training of Trainers program.

Under the HERO-PH, beneficiaries will be equipped with the necessary skills to roll out mental health programs across their HCW networks in an effort to build a stronger and more resilient local HCW community. To date, two training sessions on topics such as stress management and personal wellness were organized in March, certifying a total of 89 master trainers.

Through the initiative, ASSIST hopes to further expand learning opportunities for the HCWs and promote more activities that focus not just on physical health, but also mental health.