“It is okay to be sad, to cry, but do not stay on that emotion for too long. Get-up and move on.”

These are the words of Ms. Carmelita M. Singson, a respectable youth welfare and mental health advocate for adolescents  during her virtual guesting at the radio program “Populasyon: Pag-usapan Natin” which was aired live at the Facebook page of POPCOM-Region II: @OfficialPOPCOMRegionII on September 22, 2021 at 9:00am.  

Ms. Singson, founder of the Learning and Development Center (LDC) of Claveria, Cagayan said that the current COVID-19 pandemic has posed mental health burden to both adults and adolescents and the effect has taken its toll with the increase in suicidal ideation and suicide cases in the country.

Furtheremore, the World Health Organization tagged the coronavirus disease with “devastating impact” on mental health services globally since health services were shifted to response strategies to curb the spread of the virus.

 With this, Ms. Singson shared that “No one was ever ready to face the impacts of the pandemic. We were all affected, however, we should learn to adapt to the new normal and safeguard our mental health as one big step to overcome the disease.”

Though the National Center for Mental Health has set-up a crisis hotline which aims to provide mental health services to Filipinos affected by the lockdown, Ms. Singson also enumerated ways to cope-up with the stress and anxiety of day-to-day lives especially for young people who are struggling to adjust to the current education modalities since last year.

“Our teenagers can do productive activities while on lock-down like reading books, exploring other skills, cleaning their rooms, etc. They should find the quarantine status beneficial to them since they will be spending more time, quality time with their parents, siblings and other members of the family,” Ms. Singson said.

While sharing tips for teenagers to protect their mental health, Ms. Singson also called out to parents to be more keen in observing the changes in mood, emotions, actions and activities of their children. She said that it is important for parents to properly observe the early warning signs of anxiety and depression and educate themselves about the different mental health issues while reinforcing key messages on responsible parenthood.

She also advised parents to immediately seek professional help when they can no longer manage their adolescents who are experiencing depression. “Mental health issues can be cured and managed when detected early. Let us not ignore the signs,” added Ms. Singson.

For more counseling and tips in dealing with mental health issues, she also offers free counseling through her Facebook account: Armi Miguel Singson.#