In today’s society, in media and in real life, words such as depression, suicide, and insanity are not new. The World Health Organization reports 2,558 Filipino suicides yearly, averaging seven suicides a day. However, efforts from different sectors of the society to address the mental health issues of the common Filipino have not faltered.

In line with the Pagkalma Month, the service month of the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity and Phi Lambda Delta Sorority of the UP College of Medicine, the Phi Kappa Mu launched its newest service project, Usapang Isipan, a series of service activities that seek to promote mental health awareness.

Launching Event

The launching event, held last September 6 at Room 205 of ER Complex of the Philippine General Hospital, featured talks from mental health advocates. Dr. Ma. Lourdes Rosanna E. De Guzman, the Section Head of Behavioral Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine in PGH, talked about the general mental health status of the country, an overview of the Mental Health Law, and the importance of involving the community in resolving different mental health issues.

Ms. Alex Florentine David, second year BS Psychology student from Ateneo de Manila University and Vice President for External Affairs of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, shared initiatives the youth can undertake in helping other individuals who might be undergoing emotional and psychological crisis.

Projects

Among the banner projects of Usapang Isipan is the MHGap training program for the youth, a training program that aims to train the youth on how to help other individuals who are suffering from mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety disorder, and substance abuse. This training program will be used to address the gap in mental health service delivery, especially in the communities. The Training Program will take place in November at the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine.

The project also includes the Mental Health Video series, a series of videos that aim to raise awareness on mental health, as well as to encourage individuals who might be going through a difficult emotional crisis to seek professional help. First in the series was the story of Ms. Lia De Jesus, who shared her experience with Major Depressive Disorder and how she was able to cope.

There is also the Mental health awareness fora, a series of talks that seeks to end the stigma against mental health disorders, as well as a platform to discuss the different ways by which the youth can help end this stigma.

End Goal

The end goal of Usapang Isipan is to provide access to communities that lack mental health services. Edroico Mari Beltran Brillante Φ2015, the Senior Guardian of the Temple, is hopeful that Usapang Isipan will create a positive change especially in the communities. “We are hoping that one day, communities will no longer have problems in accessing mental health services,” he says.

“At present, there is still a lot left to be desired about the way mental health is viewed in society, as well as the care options available for those suffering from mental illness,” says Ms. Cassie Deluria, Secretary General of Youth for Mental Health Coalition. “I'm very disappointed at the status quo, where mental health is still heavily stigmatized and where most treatment options are insufficient and some inhumane even, but I'm hopeful because the climate is starting to change, in both opinion and concrete initiatives.”

If you'd like to help in their cause, you may join their training seminars as well as attend their fora, which will be announced on the Pagkalma Facebook page. You may also watch and share their videos on the Facebook page.

 

Established in August 1933 by the UP College of Medicine's best medical students, the PHI KAPPA MU (Fraternity of the College of Medicine) continues to uphold its tested tradition of Excellence, Leadership, Service and Brotherhood in the College, University and in our country.

Through the Fraternity's ideals and pillars, her Loyal Sons continue to lead, innovate and excel in the practice of medicine worldwide and in preserving the honor and integrity of the medical profession.

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