#BreaktheStigma on Mental Health and Illness in the Country

#BreaktheStigma Mental Health Condition Phillippines

Although the number of people speaking out in the mental health landscape has been increasing, the stigma attached to mental health issues is still present. Words like baliw, krung-krung, and buang are often used casually or even mindlessly in everyday conversation. And unfortunately, these words are still carelessly inserted as punchlines in media. 

The Joker Movie 

The recently shown Joker movie was a controversial one. A lot of discussion and hate went on about saying the movie was made in bad taste because it tackles real sensitive issues on mental health and a society in distress.

Some pointed out how the movie was shown at a wrong time because it is trying to create the division of poor vs rich. Some said because it encourages bullying.  Others said it was glorifying someone with mental health condition and making a hero out of him.

Joker Movie #BreaktheStigma

I disagree with all these .  The movie was actually came at a perfect time to raise awareness that we all should take care of our mental health condition before it is too late.

In the movie it depicted how a man with mental health struggle to keep his balance by being a functional and helpful member of society.  He also was taking care of his mother, goes to work , and  care of himself by taking medicines and has counseling therapy sessions.

However, his triggers piled up, stress level reached peak and totally snapped him out of sanity when everything that kept his sanity/balance was taken away from him.

What happened?  Everything he thought was the truth was a lie. He got bullied a lot. He lost his job.  He lost the access to a mental health counselor.

Celebrity Suicide Stories 

The latest Kpop celebrity suicide that shocked everyone was Suli, Just hours before she had taken her own life, she was spotted on a paparazzi picture walking with friends flashing a big smile.

It was later on learned that she has been struggling shunning away cyber-bullies who criticized her for not confirming with the standards set for a Kpop celebrity.  She is very vocal about being a pro-choice, doesn’t wear bra , openly talks about her relationships, which does not adhere to Korean star norms.

Stars of the genre are subject to intense pressure, which has been linked to a mental health crisis in the industry.

The way the media including social media more often than not highlights how the suicide was done is actually encouraging copycats .

How to take care of your mental health?

Having someone to talk to is one of the most important support someone who has mental health condition needs.  This is why friends and therapist exist,it they can be your sounding board.  They don’t have to talk back, all they need is someone to listen to them in a non-judgemental way.

If you don’t have friend you can talk to issomeone is available a phone call away. Contact the National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline at +63 917 899 8727 (USAP) and 7989 8727 (USAP).

Breaking the Stigma

The stigma lies in how people judge those who seek professional help.  If someone visit a therapist or went to have a mental health diagnosis, they are immediately isolated and taunted. Worst case they are thought of as a  liability because they do not have the capacity to have same or good judgement call because of their mental condition.

Mental Health Act

Just last year, the Mental Health Act, RA 11036 was signed into law.4 This landmark law recognizes that every Filipino has a basic right to mental health care, establishing a national mental health policy in order to improve mental health service delivery and promote and protect the rights of persons utilizing psychiatric, neurologic, and psychosocial health services.

Honestly I did not know this law exist until I attended a discussion with Upjohn, a Pfizer division, committed to relieving the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs),  together with leading healthcare professionals and advocates to discuss the state of mental health in the Philippines .

“This law truly changes things,” says Dr. Eleanor Ronquillo, Psychiatry Consultant at The Medical City’s Department of Psychiatry. “But we know it may take a while to be fully in effect. In the meantime, challenges still remain. We want to see more healthcare professionals dedicated to mental health and definitely more public information about the differences and myths surrounding them. It might seem daunting but it is not impossible as long as we all work together.”

#BreaktheStigma Mental Health Condition Phillippines

Hope remains

The advancement of medical science now provides a myriad of ways to treat mental health disorders. In addition to psychotherapy and pharmacological treatments, support from family and friends is also very important. If your loved one has or shows signs of mental illness, offer encouragement and support, and have an open and honest discussion about your concerns6

Mental health is an issue that concerns not only doctors and patients, but also the whole community – everyone plays an important role in driving change in how we talk about mental health. 

I had discussions with the health care professional at the event and even filmed some of it.  I will upload it on my YouTube Channel because theres so many things to discuss.

We talked about post partum depression,  stress in the workplace, triggers and how to help someone or where to go.

Memtal Health Condition Facts in the Philippines

  • In 2017, 970 million people around the world suffered from a mental or substance use disorder, which accounted for around 5% of global disease burden.
  • In the Philippines, 3.3 million people suffer from depression, and another 3.1 million suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • In 2012, there were a total of 2,558 suicide cases. These numbers paint a grim picture.
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