While the COVID-19 pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has also resulted in a mental health emergency. Disruptive lifestyle changes, economic uncertainty, isolation, and fear of contracting the virus all contribute to the mental strain experienced today. As many countries continue to struggle with the pandemic, healthcare workers continue to be at the forefront of national healthcare systems’ responses to the evolving situation.
Due to the nature of their work, healthcare workers may face stigma and fear from those around them while working tirelessly to combat surges in cases and promote safety among the public. This can be a significant burden along with the physical demands of their jobs, which can have a negative impact on their mental health and well-being.
In recognition of the urgent need to address mental health concerns amongst our healthcare professionals, ASSIST in partnership with Project HOPE developed Healing, Education, Resilience, and Opportunity for Healthcare Workers in the Philippines, or HERO-PH. The project’s main activity was a virtual Mental Health & Resilience (MH&R) training program to equip Filipino HCWs with the necessary tools and strategies as they continue their fight against COVID-19.
Met with success and recognition from the beneficiaries, and seeing the need to reach more healthcare professionals with this program, ASSIST and Project HOPE strengthened their continued commitment to protect the mental wellbeing of those who are protectors themselves. HERO-SEA builds upon the foundation established in the Philippine run of the HERO-PH program and expands it to other countries in the Southeast Asian region, such as Vietnam and Cambodia.
ASSIST is one with the worldwide campaign for health for all, including mental health. This World Mental Health Day, let us not only promote mental health and well-being, but also acknowledge the importance of mental health in a whole-society approach in responding to COVID-19. The mental health and well-being of our healthcare heroes is more important than ever.
Let’s work together to ensure those who keep us healthy in this pandemic, get involved with the HERO-SEA program as a Master Trainer on Mental Health and Resilience in your community. For potential partnerships and more information about the project, contact Franz Raña of ASSIST at [email protected].