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  • From Nostalgia to Solastalgia: How Climate Change Affect Mental Health

    “Who died?” “Almost everyone.” This is how devastated Filipinos feel since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the Philippines. It has already been two years and the number of cases has finally decreased. Sadly, its effect on the mental health of Filipinos is unimaginable. Whether one may take it literally or figuratively, almost everyone died due to this pandemic. It is either their lives themselves or their hope for the life that has been taken. They may say that it is the worst global crisis that happened in their lives, but little did people know, that there is a global crisis that they have already been dealing with before and will continue to do so after this pandemic - it is climate change. Filipinos have experienced an immense feeling of nostalgia for being in lockdown. It is when they started to resort to taking care of plants and called themselves plantita. This has become a national trend yet most people are still selective. There are still a lot of plants out there in the streets, that outside of the buildings, and in other places that are being stepped on, ignored, and worst, being burned. A larger movement is needed than just being a plantita. It brought them a healthy psychological impact, but the reality is, that this is just temporary. Everyone is not overly concerned about this matter yet. However, there are now some people who are suffering from solastalgia. It is a concept discussed by Dr. Oliver Sta. Ana, the chair of Environmental Psychology SIG-PAP in the Philippines, last May 7, 2021, during the Psychological Association of the Philippines – Junior Affiliates Convention. It refers to the emerging form of depression or distress caused by environmental change, such as climate change, natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, and other negative changes to one's surroundings or home. It was supported by the research of Dr. John Jamir Benzon Aruta 2019, a professor at De La Salle University - Manila, where people’s experiences with the natural environment play a fundamentally important role in addressing the six (6) existential anxieties on identity, happiness, isolation, meaning in life, freedom, and death. All of these are part of the so-called Eco-Existential Positive Psychology and this explains why the environment has a psychological effect on people. Clayton & Karazia (2020) as cited by Sta. Ana (2021) stated that people with high concern for the environment tend to experience climate anxiety, which is also associated with solastalgia. It is also reported that it is prevalent among younger adults (APA, 2018, as cited by Sta. Ana, 2021). This is due to the current climate issues that people are experiencing and that these young adults and their entire generation will primarily suffer from climate consequences that all individuals have caused. Last year in 2019, it has been reported that the scientists informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations during the General Assembly that the people only have a few years left to save the planet from climate catastrophe. In particular, by 2030, the effects of climate change will be irreversible. The opening remarks of the said assembly even started with this statement, “We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet.” In our local setting in the Philippines, it is argued by Sta. Ana (2021) that most of Filipinos do not attribute the typhoons we experience to climate change. It has also suggested that Filipinos should aspire to foster a culture where the environment needs no protection and where people can co-exist without destroying nature. If only people will look at it as an environmental crisis, maybe after this COVID-19 pandemic, it may finally be addressed. These emotionally and psychologically-triggering events happening in the country scared people to death and made them feel so helpless. At the same time, most of them painfully yearn to go back and seek to have what they had years ago – a desperate feeling of nostalgia, not a depressing state of solastalgia. But the ultimate question lies in “How do we move forward?”. To live on this planet is to synergize with all that it has - both with the living and nonliving. By the time people learn to live that way, it might be already too late and this is truly scarier than death. Hopefully, the next generation will not exchange conversations like this: “Who will die?” “Everyone.” REFERENCES Aruta, J. R. (2021). The Role of Nature on Mental Health. Psychological Association of the Philippines – Junior Affiliates 2021 Convention, Learning Session 2.2 [Online Convention]. Sta. Ana, O. B. (2021). How the Environment Influences Our Behavior and Wellbeing. Psychological Association of the Philippines – Junior Affiliates 2021 Convention, Learning Session 2.2 [Online Convention]. United Nations. (2019, March 28). General Assembly 73rd Session, High-Level Meeting on Climate and Sustainable Development – GA/12131 [Meetings Coverage and Press Releases]. Verzosa, L. (2021). Bloom with Grace: Flourishing Amidst the Gloom of the Pandemic. Psychological Association of the Philippines – Junior Affiliates 2021 Convention, Learning Session 2.3 [Online Convention].

  • "I Am No Longer Whom I Used To Be": Grief Your Past Self

    As humans, we grow. We undergo different phases in our lives, and there will be more. Going through these phases has its challenges and rewards, it is certainly difficult and fun to go through. There are times when you would think that you do not want to move forward or you feel that you are going backward, and times when you feel that you grew and then go backward again. Then you question yourself over and over again. From time to time, I could not help but think of my old self: how I used to be, who I was, what good or bad decisions I have made, and the list goes on. With that, I am leaning towards being regretful, especially since I know that I can do better, I could have handled things better, I could have chosen to do other things instead of the ones I made, I could have treated myself better, and so on. But then, I step back for a moment and think that I can now see that because I knew better now. What I know from before and now are way different, as time goes by there were bits or chunks of learning. Even so, the comparison keeps happening and there are times that it frustrates or saddens me because I see how hard I worked to be in the place where I am right now and to be the person of who I am now. It is very confusing going through the sadness I felt during the times I realized I am no longer myself, or who I used to be. Even though most of the moments should be celebrated as I was able to improve myself, I cannot help but think and feel sad. I could not find the words to express or explain what I am feeling. It is all mixed up as there were times of longing, caring, regretting, gratefulness, anger, guilt, and so on. On a random day, I thought maybe I am grieving my old self. The idea seems strange to me. I am very doubtful about the thoughts that I was having as I have no encounters or conversations about it. Then I look at the meaning of grief. Smith et al. (2021) defined grief as a normal response to loss. It refers to the emotional pain you experience when something or someone is taken away from you. Moreover, Mayo Clinic (2016) states that it is both a universal and personal experience. Individual grieving experiences differ, and the kind of their loss has an impact. It gave me validation that it is possible to grieve your old self because as you grew you would eventually lose yourself as you gain your new self. It is not easy to let go, especially of what we have known for years, what we think is us. The familiarity within ourselves provides a sense of security and with losing it, it would feel like we are being shattered into pieces. It has a sense of being broken as we are about to accept that in a way you are breaking up with yourself as we are about to continue with our newly formed self. But whether we like it or not, whether we can do it or not it has to happen as we are destined to grow and there will be more versions of ourselves in the future. There is no easy way of letting go but it is possible. By being possible it does not mean that we are required to do it immediately. With that, Sea of Solace (n.d) provided ideas on how to grieve your old self: Recognition of Past Self. If you can know who you are in the past then you would precisely know who you are grieving for. That is helpful to relate with your new self. In this step, you will be able to grasp the idea that your old self was once a part of your life but can no longer be part of your new self anymore. Express how you feel about losing a part of yourself. For you to grieve, the first thing you should do is acknowledge what you are feeling and accept them for how they are. This part may be uncomfortable but it will bring you comfort as you start doing it. Accept that change is part of life. Through this, you will be able to realign with yourself and be at peace with your present self. Keep in mind that changes will not always be good or bad but it is a part of us that needs to learn as we need to adapt to be able to move forward. Recognize the significance of your old self. As you accept that change is inevitable in your life, you are near to letting go of yourself which will arise some unwanted feelings. Figure out how your old self is important to you and what is something from it that is noteworthy, that even when there will be more new versions of yourself that old self will be remembered as something important to who you are. In that way, you will be able to grieve about it without having horrible feelings. You will be able to fully comprehend the worth of your previous self to be more satisfied with going forward. When we encounter situations like this, fear is what comes to us. We are getting uncomfortable with emotions that are normal at times like grieving but are generally seen as negative ones. We tend to restrain ourselves to keep in control but as we do it, the more that it hurts us. Letting yourself grieve and feel all the emotions that come to it does not mean that you are out of control, out of yourself. You are allowing yourself to be a human because it is one of the things that makes us human. Nevertheless, it will be a difficult path but keep in mind that you can do it. With that, I am hoping that you allow yourself to grieve your old self or any loss in your life so that you can be at peace with your new self and who you will become in the future. It is a process and as you go through it you are progressing. References Mayo Clinic. (2016, October 19). What is grief? Retrieved March 23, 2022, from Sea of Solace. (n.d.). How to grieve your past self. Retrieved March 23, 2022, from Smith, M., Robinson, L., & Segal, J. (2021, September). Coping with grief and loss. Retrieved March 23, 2022, from

  • Clearing Brain Fog

    Having brain fog is a phenomenon in which it takes us more effort to focus and respond than what we think is reasonable. While it isn’t a medical condition, brain fog can feel similar to the effects of sleep deprivation and impair our daily lives. What is brain fog? The term brain fog is used by individuals to describe a mental state of sluggishness, fuzziness, or lack of mental clarity. It is characterized by a decrease in memory, attention, alertness, and word retrieval (Stoneridge Centers, n.d.), but these symptoms can vary from person to person. We all get to experience brain fog at some point in our lives. You might have had that fuzzy state after pulling out an all-nighter to study for your finals, or you might have had those times when you couldn’t because you were sick, or you probably had that hazy feeling after you finished those countless tasks you have for work. However, if your thinking hasn’t returned to normal after taking a break and if these challenges have started to interfere with your life for a prolonged period, this may already be an indication of an underlying condition or disorder (San Francisco Neuropsychology, 2020). The causes and treatment of brain fog Just like its symptoms themselves, the causes of brain fog can vary in each individual. However, these causes can be usually traced to a lifestyle that gives rise to hormonal imbalances (Bangkok Hospital, n.d.). A few of the most common causes of brain fog include: Stress: Prolonged periods of stress can cause reduced blood flow to the brain, while elevated levels of stress can cause an increase in the body’s stress hormone called cortisol (Torres, 2020). Both of these conditions can exhaust the brain and negatively affect memory and cognitive functions. Chronic stress can also trigger low-grade inflammation in the brain, which can cause fatigue and a worsened mood in the individual (Chatterjee, 2021). Diet and nutrition: Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can contribute to brain fog. A poor diet with cobalamin or vitamin B12 deficiency has been found to cause memory loss and hazy thoughts (Stoneridge Centers, n.d.). Unhealthy diets consisting of refined sugar and saturated fat may also promote inflammation in the brain and upset hormonal balance, thereby causing fatigue and brain fog. Poor sleep: A lack of sleep typically causes attention and memory problems. Getting insufficient sleep naturally leads to feelings of exhaustion, which can make thinking more difficult. Medication: Medications such as painkillers and benzodiazepines are known to cause brain fog as a side effect. If you suspect this, you may consult with your doctor to lower the dosage or to shift to an alternative medication. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as anemia, depression, and multiple sclerosis that cause inflammation, fatigue, and blood sugar levels can cause brain fog. Patients who have a history of Covid-19 have also been found to experience brain fog (Leigh, 2022) Treating brain fog The type of treatment may depend on the cause of brain fog. Fortunately, some of its effects can be alleviated with lifestyle changes such as the following: Getting proper sleep and having a healthy sleep regimen Consuming a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Consulting a doctor to ensure that your diet meets all vitamin requirements Avoiding the consumption of alcohol Lowering your stress levels or finding healthy ways to cope with stress Regularly exercising Taking mental breaks during the day Having proper brain function is crucial for our well-being and can largely determine how we can thrive as individuals. If you think that brain fog is negatively affecting the quality of your life, consulting a professional can help you identify its causes and address them to regain your mental clarity. If you need extra help, know that the BPS team is here to help you achieve good mental health. References: Bangkok Hospital. (n.d.) Brain Fog: Solutions To Help You Improve Concentration. Chatterjee, R. (2021, May 7). If your brain feels foggy and you're tired all the time, you're not alone. NPR. San Francisco Neuropsychology. (2020, July 25). Brain Fog. Stoneridge Centers. (n.d.) What Is Brain Fog and How Does It Relate to Mental Illness? Torres, C. (2020, October 21). Brain Fog - What are the symptoms, causes, treatments, and COVID 19 medical effects on brain health? University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Leigh, S. (2022, January 18). Cerebrospinal fluid offers clues to post-Covid ‘brain fog’. University of California San Francisco.

  • Recalibrating Boundaries

    Beneath the increasing conversations about personal boundaries is the erroneous belief that other people should adjust their behaviors in response to your setting of boundaries. While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, maintaining our boundaries should always be a persistent commitment to meet our own needs. What are boundaries? A boundary is an invisible, flexible, and constantly changing limit between you and the other individual. According to the Personal Space Theory (Scott, 2009), we set boundaries to create a sense of personal space and to mark the optimal distance for our interactions with others. To put it simply, they are the guidelines that help determine where you end and where the other person begins. Boundaries help indicate which actions and emotions you will and will not hold yourself responsible for, while also determining the interactions you are willing to accept from others (GoodTherapy, 2017). Maintaining healthy boundaries can therefore help people develop healthier relationships, define their individuality, and establish their own identities. Shifting our current perception of boundaries Boundaries can vary in different relationships but it is crucial to emphasize that they are not products of negotiation; they are decisions we make without the cooperation of the other party (Samsel, n.d.). Many of us assume that a boundary is a massive, impenetrable wall we create to separate ourselves from others—and when people cross the line, we tell them to move back and we try to rebolden this border. For instance, when you feel uncomfortable with how a person talks to you, you might tell them to not talk to you that way. However, boundaries are not enforced to change another person’s behavior; they are established to ensure that your need of being respected is met. Changing other people cannot be your motivation as this transforms your boundary setting into a request. If the other party adapts in response to your boundary, we then perceive this as a healthy relationship. However, if they don’t change in the way we hope they do, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your boundary setting was unsuccessful. Telling yourself that you will no longer tolerate disrespectful conversations is the act of establishing your boundary. The motivation here is not to change the other person’s behavior, but to have your need of being respected met. Having a boundary entails the understanding that when people treat you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, you confront them—and when they continue to do it, you find other ways to meet your needs. This is where the hardest decisions are made, and you either try to limit or remove yourself from the other party’s presence. Boundaries are not about saying how close others can come to us since we cannot control their actions. By recalibrating our definition of boundaries, we come to realize that boundaries are all about how far we will go as our actions are always within our control. We then find ways how we can be authentic selves in every situation, and we get to feel empowered no matter what the outcome is. References GoodTherapy. (2017, June 27). Boundaries. Samcel, M. (n.d.) Boundaries. Abuse and Relationships. Scott, A. L. (2009). A beginning theory of personal space boundaries. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 29(2), 12–21. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6163.1993.tb00407.x

  • Test Anxiety : What it is and how to deal with it

    Tests are a part of our lives. Not just as students taking exams to see how much we have learned in certain subject areas. We also take tests in getting a license, apply for a job, measure our IQ, and many more. These tests are used to measure our skills, knowledge, and capabilities, to find out if we are fit for the role we are applying for. In light of the recent board examinations, many new licensed professionals have successfully finished one of the most important exams of their lives. In taking major exams such as this, we must be physically, emotionally, mentally, and intellectually prepared and in our best condition. Passing the board examination will take you to the next step of your career, and failing the board exam will set you back for another year until you can apply for your license again. Since the result of this examination will greatly impact the lives of its takers, it is unavoidable to experience test anxiety. The pressure from yourself and others may be overwhelming. Test anxiety, as the name suggests, is a type of performance anxiety that is experienced before, during, or after a test or examination. This can affect the students’ concentration and performance. The two kinds of exam anxiety are rational anxiety and irrational anxiety. The former is anxiousness due to poor study habits while the latter is when a student feels nervous about taking an exam. (India, 2020) Students with low anxiety still feel slight pressure or anxiousness towards an upcoming exam, but they can remain focused on studying. However, those with extreme exam anxiety can interfere with their capability to memorize and recall concepts, which can lead to poor performance in the examination. Test anxiety can manifest itself physically, mentally, or both. Physically, this would be sweating, shaking, erratic heartbeat, bodily tension, headache, or stomachache. Mentally, this would be trouble in focusing or concentrating, intrusive thoughts and worries, irritability, and a sense of hopelessness. Test anxiety may also be a result of past experiences with examinations. Failure in previous tests may lower our self-confidence. Anxiety and lowered self-image may also be caused by poor study habits and procrastination. It may also be caused by the expectations that are set upon us. Studies also show that constructive feedback in an exam enhances learning and improvement, so receiving the opposite of this may result in test anxiety. To overcome test anxiety, you must establish good study habits that can help to boost your confidence in taking the exam. Create a routine that will allow you to study efficiently. If you are confident that you have reviewed everything that you need, then you can assure yourself that there is nothing to be afraid of. You can also ask your friends and family for support in case the pressure or anxiety is overwhelming. It is also a very important factor that you take care of yourself well, weeks or even months before the examination. Your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Make sure you get proper rest, exercise, and diet. Practice tips and approaches for certain types of tests so you can use them to your advantage. Combine suggestions and techniques that you can use to increase your test score while decreasing your test anxiety. During the exam, you must also know how to relax your body from tension. Breathe deeply and remind yourself that you are in control. Your mindset also matters. Instead of expecting failure, aspire for success. Above all, do your best. Do it with all your heart and soul. Regardless of the result, it is already an accomplishment in itself that you got the guts to take the exam. You can always try again next year. Never lose hope. References: Mental Health PH. (2021, March 25). Taking Exams during the Pandemic. Wadi, M., Yusoff, MSB., Abdul Rahim, A.F., et al. (2022, January 6). Factors affecting test anxiety: a qualitative analysis of medical students’ views. BMC Psychology. Mashayekh, M., Hashemi, M. (2011, December 27). Recognizing, Reducing, and Coping with Test Anxiety: Causes, Solutions and Recommendations.

  • Recovery Isn't Linear: Bouncing back after a Relapse

    Everyone probably has gone through something that they need to recover from. Be it a traumatic experience, a mental illness, relationships, addictions, and the like. We are all trying our best to heal ourselves in our ways. However, it is quite unavoidable to have a relapse. Relapse is when a condition gets bad again after it has already shown signs of improvement. It is when a bad habit or behavior recurs again after a long period of withdrawal from it. An example would be a person recovering from depression who might get intrusive suicidal thoughts again. An alcoholic that has stopped consuming alcohol for months, could relapse and go on a binge drinking session. Relapse is normal and is a part of the journey towards healing and recovery. It does not cancel all the progress that you have made so far. Recovery is not linear, don’t be too hard on yourself if you experience setbacks. Here’s how to bounce back after a relapse: Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) is an approach developed by Dr. Marlatt and Dr. Gordon, to help people in recovery assess the factors which caused them to relapse. It has three primary areas of focus: The first area focuses on helping people adopt habits, behavioral techniques, and lifestyle changes, such as a healthier routine of sleeping, exercising, and relaxing. The second area focuses on training people with their coping skills, to help them control their cravings and urges, including high-risk circumstances and feelings. The third area focuses on cognitive therapy interventions which help people in changing their perspective about relapse so that they can regard it as a lesson instead of a sign of failure. While I have mentioned that relapse is normal, there are precautions that you can take to prevent relapse or reduce its impact when it occurs. If you’re on medication, please continue taking it, regardless if you’re feeling well. Identify your early warning signs - these signs that your health may be getting worse. If you can determine these signs, then you can take countermeasures early. Assess yourself: when and how did it begin, what changed about your thoughts and behavior, and did these occur in a specific order? You may also ask the people around you if they have observed anything different about you. These changes are often caused by triggers. Some of the most common triggers are insufficient/poor sleep, grief, conflict with others, stressful events, change in environment, negative events, not following your treatment plan, or other health problems. Create a list of activities that can help you as self-care and support. These can be writing in a journal, talking to peers, consulting a professional, watching feel-good movies, joining support groups, enjoying nature, exploring new hobbies, volunteering, getting more/better sleep, and other stuff that you enjoy. It is also advisable that you build healthy coping skills, as well as learn how to identify and manage stressful situations. It is important that you can incorporate healthy thinking habits. Prioritize self-care when dealing with stressful events. Create realistic goals and expectations for yourself. Treat yourself with self-compassion. Ask for help from others if you need it. Always remember that your feelings are valid. You are not in this alone. Your progress is still there even if you relapse. Just remember to bounce back and come back stronger! References: Hartney, E. (2021, October 11). What to Do After a Relapse. Canadian Mental Health Association. (2021). Preventing Relapse of a Mental Illness. Blackford, M. (2021, October 7). 5 Mental Health Relapse Triggers Everyone Should Know About. FHE Rehab.

  • The Purpose and Effects of Virtual Mental Health Services

    As technology is really helpful during the Covid 19 pandemic many people relied on the internet to connect with their families, friends, and loved ones. And in terms of mental health support, technology has ushered in a new era. Many developers and mental health communities are doing their best to provide effective technology methods for therapies. Online counseling is among the most efficient ways to get the treatment that patients want when it comes to mental health issues. The internet also set many best online therapy services today in 2022 such as Betterhelp, Talkspace, ReGain, Wellnite, and ReThink My Therapy as the top five. As the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a spike in interest in virtual mental health care. There has been a surge in virtual visits among populations that have not been known for adopting mental health care throughout the past, such as men. According to healthcare specialists, the chronic challenges of 2020, such as the economic, health, environmental, and sociological catastrophes, are affecting Americans' mental health. Furthermore, even thoughwell-being Generation Z patients account for 14% of overall mental wellbeing consultations, most age groups have already been requesting mental health care at a higher rate (LandI, H. 2020). While internet therapy isn't right for everyone, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to get mental health help. That's because patients can talk to an online therapist through phone, text message, or live video from the comfort of their own homes. These virtual mental health services connect the user with peer support or send information to a trained health care expert who can provide advice and treatment alternatives. Virtual mental health services have become a trend online nowadays and I think many people are now finally understanding how important it is to take care of their own physical and mental health. With the help of many people that are finally understanding how important it is, most individuals will be finally able to realize that mental health should not be taken lightly and that many people are suffering from it. And it is now the time to help, support, respect, and understand those individuals and patients because that is what they need the most. References: Best Online Therapy services Author: Mary K. Tatum Date: February 4, 2022 Technology and Future of the Mental Health Author: National Institute Of Mental Health Date: 2022 Dement for virtual health care is soaring, Here are the key trends of who is using it and why Author: Heather Landi Date: October 24, 2020,the%20pandemic%20and%20social%20crises.

  • "How to Cope-up with Online Classes"

    The mental health crisis has been referred to as the next pandemic. In 2020, the World Health Organization has warned about a mental health crisis that would affect millions of people globally due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A 2017 report by WHO ranks mental illness third among the most common disabilities in the Philippines. The same report ranks the Philippines as the third country with the highest rate of mental health problems in the Western Pacific Region as it has around 6 million Filipinos who are living with depression or anxiety (WHO, 2017). According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, suicide rates in the Philippines increased by 25.7% in 2020. Moreover, death due to intentional self-harm was ranked 27 among the leading causes of death in the same year (PSA, 2021). There are various studies about how the pandemic and online learning modes have taken their toll on students’ mental health. It has been over 500 days since Filipino students last stepped into their physical classrooms. Even with the calls for an academic freeze for the academic year 2020-2021, virtual and modular modes of learning are still pushed through (De Guzman, 2020). The Philippines is currently one of the few countries left that haven’t returned to traditional face-to-face classes (UNICEF, 2021). To help students during this crisis, here are some ways to cope with online learning. Stay Social While it is harder to connect with people during the online set-up it is essential to maintain your relationships. The lack of socialization can lead to further isolation which can result in loneliness. Benefits of socializing increase the sense of happiness and well-being, as well as promote purpose, confidence, and self-esteem (Dombeck, 2007). This then improves the mental and emotional health of a student. A simple phone call or eating meals with your family would already help you stay social. Create Habits Having a routine is important as it would give you structure, help you set your priorities, and become less reliant on motivation or willpower. These do not have to be big habits and may start from making your bed and cleaning your space to waking up or sleeping at the same time every day. Habit stacking would also be helpful to continue your momentum and keep productivity. Online Study Groups To help with the lack of motivation to study, study groups may help you as other people may influence you to become productive. This may be done with classmates or friends when studying for an exam. Online study groups are also available on Zoom and Discord platforms. On these platforms, microphones are muted while cameras are on and you would see that everyone is either studying or doing school work. This gives a productive environment that would motivate you to be productive as well. Additionally, this can be a means to socialize with other people. Manage Your Priorities Time and priority management are important during online classes, especially when there are asynchronous sessions or self-paced days. It is best to have a list of all your things to do, not only those for school but also your tasks. This would help you prioritize them and reduce the risk of forgetting. Having a structured list of goals would also prevent you from procrastinating. When you can handle your studies and priorities well, it would lead to less stress and anxiety. Take a Break Taking a break is important when dealing with stress to prevent being overwhelmed. Resting, going for a walk, stretching, and rewarding yourself may give you a mood boost as you engage in activities that give you a sense of joy. This would recharge your brain and body which helps them to maintain performance throughout the day, giving you a boost in productivity (Nayak, 2020). Get Help When You Need It Feeling of stress, anxiety, and loneliness are important warnings for your mental health. Seeking professional help may make you feel better and help you in dealing with your struggles. Schools and colleges have counselors that may help you with this. There are also many organizations and hospitals in the Philippines that offer free mental health services, especially to those who are affected by COVID-19. These experts may offer you coping mechanisms and tools that would help you manage stress. References: De Guzman, R. (2020). DepEd, CHED say no to calls for nationwide, Luzon-wide academic freeze Retrieved from Dombeck, M. (2007). Socialization. Retrieved from National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Student Reports of Bullying. Retrieved from Nayak, A. (2020). You Should Absolutely Take a Break Right Now—And Here’s the Best Way to Do It Retrieved from Philippine Statistics Authority. (2021). Causes of Deaths in the Philippines (Preliminary): January to December 2020. Retrieved from UNICEF. (2021). Filipino children continue missing education opportunities in another year of school closure. Retrieved from WHO (2017) Mental health atlas 2017. World Health Organization

  • “Frontliners mental health during COVID-19”

    Stigma usually occurs along with the onset of an outbreak and it is commonly seen in a group of people associated with treating patients. Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been reports of several discrimination acts toward medical front liners who worked double during this pandemic and yet, get stigmatized and discriminated against not only in their workplace but also in their surroundings. This misconception towards them becomes at large because of their high exposure to covid patients and significantly affects their mental health. Reports worldwide have shown increased stigmatization, threats, and discrimination toward medical frontliners, and even their families receive “secondary” stigma (Ransing et al. 2020). They experience getting refused housing or apartment, and social discrimination where people would throw unnecessary things at them and treat them as if they carry the virus. People would also gossip and use improper words toward them. It has also been noticed that associated discrimination toward medical front liners is more evident among those who belong in a hospital who holds quarantine for positive and possible covid patients and those who have inadequate COVID-19-related training (Mostafa et al. 2020; Teksin et al. 2020). Because of these very evident factors affecting one’s mental health, the medical frontline experiences emotional fatigue, burnout, depression, and stress-related disorders. They are deprived of proper protective measures for their physical and emotional health thus contributing to an increase in the development of psychological problems among medical frontliners (Gupta et al. 2020). Different factors such as socio-economic, biological factors, and psychological vulnerability could affect at different levels the mental health of a person, but the situation of frontliners where their mental health is being neglected and overlooked is very alarming and must receive proper attention and interventions. In addition, poorer mental health and increased intention of professional turnover are high among medical front liners who experienced greater levels of discrimination. But perceived resilience is seen to outline negative effects on mental health medical frontlines creating a more sustainable environment for them (Labrugue et al. 2021). It is indeed true that the situation of medical workers has worsened because of the present global health crisis. People around the world are forced into a situation that is out of their routine and medical frontliners face struggles not only work-related but also within themselves. For frontliners who save lives every day, it is fulfilling to see smiles on people’s faces after recovering but whenever they find themselves alone and with no hands to hold on to, the fear for their own lives and their families hits harder. Moreover, medical frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic wish to receive stronger support from the government and its people as well as a faster response to eliminate and fight the pandemic. Reference: Biana, H. T., & Joaquin, J. J. B. (2020). COVID-19: The need to heed distress calls of healthcare workers. Journal of Public Health, 42(4), 853–854. Campo-Arias, A., Jiménez-Villamizar, M. P., & Caballero-Domínguez, C. C. (2021). Healthcare workers’ distress and perceived discrimination related to COVID-19 in Colombia. Nursing and Health Sciences. Corpuz, J. C. G. (2021). “We are not the virus”: stigmatization and discrimination against frontline health workers. Journal of Public Health, 43(2), e327–e328. Gupta, S., & Sahoo, S. (2020). Pandemic and mental health of the front-line healthcare workers: a review and implications in the Indian context amidst COVID-19. General Psychiatry, 33(5), e100284. Labrague, L. J., de Los Santos, J. A. A., & Fronda, D. C. (2021). Perceived COVID-19-associated discrimination, mental health and professional turnover intention among frontline clinical nurses: The mediating role of resilience. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. Ransing, R., Ramalho, R., de Filippis, R., Isioma Ojeahere, M., Karaliuniene, R., Orsolini, L., … Adiukwu (FA), F. (2020). Infectious Disease Outbreak Related Stigma and Discrimination during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Drivers, Facilitators, Manifestations, and Outcomes across the World. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2020.07.033

  • Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

    Suicidal thoughts can occur at any age, regardless of season, gender, or culture. Although this was a taboo subject, we might spend some time learning about and being aware of the condition. Suicide is often the outcome of an untreated mental health issue and should not deem lightly. Many people experience suicidal thoughts, especially when under stress or dealing with mental or physical health issues. Suicidal ideation is a symptom of a more severe problem. The ideas can be a series of thinking and planning suicide. Most people can recover from medication, therapy, and personal development work, but this does not appear to be the case for everyone. So, the first step is to seek assistance. If a loved one is showing the warning signs of suicidal thoughts, it is critical to ask them if they are thinking about suicide and keep them safe by staying around. Since September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we could change the stigma and public perception about this topic. We can use this month to express hope to people affected by suicide. We can assist by talking with the individual, listening to them, and being present for them. Perhaps, with some understanding and compassion, we can provide our friends and families with the resources they need to talk about their feelings and a safety net they could call on during serious attempts. If we assisted people suffering from mental illnesses, we would undoubtedly save more lives than would otherwise be lost due to successful suicide attempts. As we reach out to people and assist them, they may realize that there are different answers to their situation. We can reach National Mental Health Crisis Hotlines at 0917-899-USAP (8727) and 7-989-USAP (8727) if we know someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. (Gonzales, C. 2021) or if you are looking for mental health consultation, you can also send us an email to Reference: Gonzales, C. (2021) Mental health, suicide hotline calls up in 1Q 2021 — DOH. Retrieved from::

  • Excoriation Disorder

    Excoriation Disorder is more commonly known as a skin-picking disorder. Its onset varies from person to person but most often begins during early adolescence or in the ages of 30-45 years old (Grant, et al. 2021). Other characteristic symptoms include skin-picking which results in skin lesions in an attempt to alleviate experiences of anxiety, distress, and impulsivity. It also includes efforts to stop skin-picking itself. The treatment for Excoriation Disorder mostly includes evidence-based approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and habit reversal training along with medications that address anxiety symptoms (Capprioti, et al. 2015, Kress & Paylo, 2015). There are possible ways that an individual can reduce anxiety even in 10 seconds. The following are considered coping strategies/grounding techniques for people who experience anxiety symptoms and skin-picking which mainly focuses on the: Things you can see Things you can feel Things you can hear Things you can taste Things you can smell Being mindful on the things you experience in the moment can help to alleviate these experiences. Capriotti, M. R., Ely, L. J., Snorrason, I., & Woods, D. W. (2015). Acceptance-enhanced behavior therapy for excoriation (skin-picking) disorder in adults: A clinical case series. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 22(2), 230-239 Grant, J. E., Odlaug, B. L., Chamberlain, S. R., Keuthen, N. J., Lochner, C., & Stein, D. J. (2012). Skin picking disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 1143–1149. Stargell, N., Kress, V., Paylo, M. & Zins, A. (2016) Excoriation Disorder: Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment. The Professional Counselor Volume 6, Issue 1, Pages 50–60

  • Walking on Eggshells

    Borderline personality disorder is a psychological condition that makes it difficult to operate in everyday life because it changes how you think and behaves about yourself and others. When a person has BPD, their emotion seems to be all over the place. Everything feels unstable including their thinking, relationships, and occasionally their identity. A strong fear of abandonment, difficulty tolerating being alone, and instability are a few of what people with borderline personality disorder go through. Even if they wish to have meaningful and lasting relationships, their intense emotions, impulsiveness, and frequent mood swings tend to push their loved ones away. If you are someone who lives with a person suffering from BPD, you feel like you’re walking on eggshells. Living on an emotional rollercoaster with them on the wheels. They tell you you’re a bad person and that they hate you. You ask yourself “is this true? Is this my fault?” The thing is, it's not your fault. Because they are distressed and enraged, they may be easily offended. Oftentimes, individuals often base facts on what they see in front of them, whereas people with BPD base their facts on their feelings. It’s black and white for them; the gray area simply does not exist. The main thing to remember is that this will not go away no matter what you do. You or anybody else cannot fill that black hole of emptiness and rage; only treatment works. REFERENCE: Borderline Personality Disorder: What You Need To Know | McLean Hospital. (2022, February 21). Putting People First in Mental Health. Borderline personality disorder - Symptoms and causes. (2019, July 17). Mayo Clinic.,a%20pattern%20of%20unstable%20relationships.

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