In order to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, the national government has placed the country in an enhanced community quarantine. This limits people’s mobility with heavy restrictions on transportation and going out to buy essentials.
Because of the lockdown, there has been a growing number of people suffering from stress and anxiety. (Read: Heart Evangelista on her depression, anxiety: ‘I battled for quite some time’) Just last month, the National Center for Mental Health reported receiving a daily average of 30 to 35 calls from people facing mental health issues from March to May 2020.
Studies have also shown that aside from the pandemic, depression and suicide are two of the most serious battles that the world is facing nowadays.
Taking Mental Health Seriously
Aware of the mental burdens that the pandemic has been causing to a lot of people, the Diocese of Caloocan has created a support helpline for those struggling with their emotions due to the COVID-19 crisis. (Read: 5 Calming Prayers to Ease Your Anxiety)
“We launched our own ‘Hopeline’ so that we’ll be able to help our people in the diocese when they need the guidance of a priest or a psychiatrist,” Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan told Radio Veritas.
The “COVID Hopeline” is a phone-in counseling program of mental health experts and priests to help those in emotional distress. Bishop David said that since the early weeks of the lockdown, the diocese has also been holding psycho-spiritual webinars and online counseling sessions.
Bishop David adds that the hopeline is the proactive response of the Church to issues such as stress, depression, trauma, and domestic abuse and violence that are intensifying because of the quarantine measures. (Read: 3 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health While in Quarantine)
“Many health issues arise in people during the pandemic, so the Church also needs to be there to address such issues,” he says. Bishop David added that the diocese has strengthened its online presence to provide pastoral accompaniment during the lockdown period.
If you or someone you love is in need, you may reach the COVID Hopeline at 0998-4014-777.