The Department of Health reported Wednesday that the National Center of Mental Health (NCMH) has been receiving an average of 53 suicide-calls every day amid the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the highest number of suicide-related calls to NCMH was recorded in July 2020 with 115 calls.
“Not all who called were new, most were returning callers who were exacerbated by the pandemic,” the DOH said.
Meanwhile, records also showed the number of anxiety-related concerns reached 109 in August.
In total, the NCMH crisis hotlines received a high volume of calls from April to July, but the peak was in June with 1,115 calls.
The report said 9,494 Filipinos had been provided with mental health services as of August 15.
Individuals who need mental health support and assistance can call the NCMH crisis numbers 0917-8998727 and 989-8727.
Vergeire earlier warned the public against stigmatizing individuals struggling with mental health issues.
“Hindi po porke’t tumawag po kayo sa hotline ay luko luko kayo o sira ang ulo. It is okay not to be okay. Mayroon po kayong maaaring kausapin for counselling o kahit makipagkwentuhan. Huwag po kayo magkaroon ng agam-agam kasi meron po kayong puwedeng makausap,” Vergeire said.
Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez earlier urged the government to hire more psychiatrists, guidance counselors, psychologists, and mental health professionals to help Filipinos cope with the psychological concerns brought by the COVID-19 crisis.
Rodriguez warned there could be a surge of mental health problems among Filipinos due to the pandemic.
He said that the fear alone of acquiring the diseased “is driving many Filipinos nuts.”
“This prolonged pandemic is adversing affecting the mental health of tens of thousands if not millions among us,” Rodriguez said.
“Worries of being sick with covid, no work, no food or less food to eat, being unable to go outdoors, pressure to earn for the family, sickness in the family, depressing news of friends infected with and dying of covid, unable to continue school, inability to get physical comfort from friends and relatives — all these result in deteriorating mental health of our people,” he added.
Moreover, the lawmaker also noted, “the uncertainty of when this infectious virus wreaking havoc on our lives will go away.”