In Touch Trains its Own to Expand the Reach of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Training for the Communities
In Touch Community Services (ITCS), together with the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), held another Kumustahan Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Training. This Training of Trainers (ToT) was held with a mission of having more In Touch community members be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide a resilience-based psychosocial support and be part of the In Touch Community Response Team. Staff, interns, and volunteers of the ITCS Community participated in this ToT last April 14 and 15 at the Holy Trinity Church Parish Hall.
The Community Support Program of ITCS is fulfilling its goal of duplicating themselves by spearheading this training and empowering the ITCS community to facilitate Kumustahan MHPSS interventions, especially to vulnerable communities. This would be helpful in providing direct care whenever needed, to communities affected by disaster and crisis situations.
Dr. Julian Montano, one of the facilitators of the Kumustahan MHPSS Training, explained that a Kumustahan session is designed for people who experience prolonged adverse events or situations. He mentioned that through a mini study with a specific group going through a stronger adverse experience, it was seen that there was a statistically significant difference of stress levels that pointed to a significant positive change in the participants.
More than just a training Kumustahan MHPSS Training hopes to provide a grounding and enriching experience that serves as a reminder that as humans, it is normal to face challenges. More importantly, it aims to bring out the participants inner strength by building on resiliency.
“Consciously or unconsciously, a suicidal person will manifest the signs. Suicide is very seldom an impulsive behavior.”
– Dr. Julian Montano
In Touch Head of External and Internal Support Dr. Julian Montano was a recent phone-in guest interviewee at the SanaLourd radio and live stream show of celebrity Lourd de Vera at Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM. The show is scheduled on weekdays daily from 11am to 1pm.
The SanaLourd episode last February 17 dramatized a mental health incident in radio drama format. The discussion touched on depression, suicide as well as the “perceived reluctance of some media producers from mentioning the ‘S’ word on broadcast news,” preferring instead to use descriptions such as “a person jumping off the building” or “slashing his wrist”. The radio host noted that this may be due to a belief that such news can trigger similar incidents or the suicide may be viewed as “a ‘romantic’ way of dealing with problems,” citing cases of dramatic announcements of plans of self-harm over social media.
Dr. Montano confirmed that suicide is a serious problem and that people should be made aware of the warning signs. He said, “There will be a marked change in behavior or appearance. Consciously or unconsciously, a suicidal person will manifest the signs. Suicide is very seldom an impulsive behavior. It is something they thought a lot about, they felt the need to do. They believe that they are helpless, their situation is hopeless, and that often they feel like they are just a problem for other people. These are what pushed them to commit suicide. So, whatever the signs, always consider them seriously. These are cries of help.”
Dr. Montano added that the perceived belief of certain media on avoiding the word “suicide” in the news for fear of triggering similar incidents should be corrected. “In our practice and research, it is important that they should identify the incident but only with the right and appropriate information. Media should focus on the essentials and not on the dramatic repercussions.”
In Touch Crisis Line Marks Consistent Peak Calls in February on Couple Issues, Relationships
ABS-CBN recently interviewed Helpline Manager Bernadette Logan and Crisis Line Coordinator Dominic Limjap on the rise of Crisis Line callers during the month of February.
With Valentine's Day celebrated in February, romantic relationships are often highlighted in social media, television, and advertisements during the month, In Touch crisis line coordinator Dominic Limjap noted. "It leads to the fact that we tend to be more aware and mindful of the quality of our own relationships. There may be cases that we tend to compare (ourselves) with other people, especially on social media since, of course, it always shows the positive. It does not show the negative parts of relationships which are normal."
In Touch has responded to around 6,000 calls when the pandemic struck, double the 3,000 pre-COVID yearly average. Calls related to love and relationship accounted for 3 to 15 percent of total calls in the whole year from 2019 to 2022, with the peak of 15% reached during February. This goes to show the importance the quality of interpersonal relationships during this time of month.
To view more details on the subject, read the article created by ABS-CBN here:
In Touch Community Services, Inc. partnered with Breakthrough ACTION to create “A Moment for Myself”, a free Mental Health Booklet for Filipino teens that teaches mental health self-care in the post-pandemic era.
In Touch’s child psychologist Jessica Espanto reviewed the written and visual content of the booklet. “We illustrated individuals of different religions, individuals with different looks, LGBTQIA+, individuals who have a disability, and allies. I studied DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) principles in written and visual media to ensure the audit is sound and appropriate,” she said.
“I was very intentional in my choice of words for our target audience. I ended up choosing “mental health condition.” At the core of it, a mental health illness/disease/disorder/problem is a human condition,” she added.
‘A Moment For Myself' is a mental health booklet for Filipinos by Filipinos. It can also be downloaded for free at link: https://tinyurl.com/MHBookletEng.
Booklets in Tagalog and Bisaya languages will also be made available soon.
#WellbeingMatters #InTouchCommunityServices #MentalHealth #MentalHealthBooklet #FREEMentalHealthBooklet
The life of lending an ear to hard calls and the persistent threat of compassion fatigue. The challenge of providing a safe space to help callers make sense of their thoughts. Why extensive training is necessary prior to becoming a Crisis Line responder.
In this coverage of ABS-CBN is a brief view of Crisis Line responders; what it’s like in their shoes as they deal with every day calls for the sake of helping those in need.
See full article and video here:
Living in a country prone to the risks and hazards of natural disasters, it is more critical than ever to ensure that any disaster preparedness plans should include frontliners who are well-trained not just in dealing with the physical impact of calamities but in mental health interventions. Readiness is key to reducing the risk of disasters by equipping more people, especially community leaders and responders, with skills to extend help in fostering mental and emotional resilience of community members experiencing the impact of the disaster or crisis over an extended period of time.
This was the goal of In Touch Community Services (ITCS) when it recently partnered with the Center for Disaster Preparedness to conduct a training on Mental Health and Psychospiritual Support (MHPSS) in Disaster Risk Reduction for the church workers and other community servants of the United Methodist Church-Pampanga District in Magalang, Pampanga.
The ITCS training program, called, “Kumustahan”, is a resilience-based mental health and psychosocial-spiritual support (MHPSS) group intervention conducted as a means of promoting a better adaptation of the individual from the impact of a lingering adverse situation. They were taught capacity as church and community servants when responding to the immediate need of people in times of disaster or crisis. The two-day program was focused on building the disaster or crisis-readiness capacity of participating district superintendents, reverends, pastors and deaconesses and improving the quality of response to the immediate needs of their communities.
The Kumustahan is just one of the various outreach programs that In Touch is offering to communities nationwide as part of its advocacy for Mental Heath education. Any organization or community groups interested for similar programs or partnerships can contact In Touch at 02-8893-1893 / 0917-863-1136 / 0956-053-4257 (M - F, 9 AM - 5 PM) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Video Testimonial from attendee Lestie Cancio
Our very own Dr. Rucelle Zuniega was recently interviewed by ABS-CBN News as one of the medical experts to confirm the rise of OCD cases during the pandemic and weigh in on the importance of OCD awareness to break the stigma around this disease.
“Aside from the people with OCD experiencing an exacerbation of their symptoms, many also experience the emergence of new symptoms focused on COVID-19. So, health-related yung symptoms nila and particularly health-related sa Covid,” she said.
Dr. Rucelle also warned people against loosely using the term “OC” or “OCD” when referring to people who are clean and organized, saying this “minimizes” the “severity” of the illness as the grim reality of it is being overshadowed by the wrong use of the term.
For the full news story see https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/19/22/disinfecting-until-it-hurts-ocd-cases-rise-as-covid-19-lingers
In Touch’s Foreign Liaison Program recently joined the International School Manila (ISM) Bearcat Welcome Event held in their BGC campus. The booth set up held large banners, signages, post-it affirmations and stickers–all to promote mental health in commemoration of Suicide Prevention Awareness.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Cards that offered tips on how to identify and help those in crisis were given out to help equip students and teachers alike with the necessary knowledge to make a change. Prior to the actual event, different programs at In Touch (Youth Advocacy, Internship, Helpline and Employee Wellness) got together to discuss on the best way to promote mental health to the new ISM parents and students.
“We talked about things that mattered to us, things that are important for this Suicide Prevention Awareness. I had a feeling of sisterhood and an implicit understanding across cultures.” said one of In Touch expat volunteer, Marie-Louise Sauerberg.
The event saw through parents and students alike with our “Mental Health Matters!” message at the forefront of our booth. In an effort to raise awareness and educate the public, all 143 booth visitors were given information on In Touch’s mental health services; Counseling, Crisis Line, Training, and Employee Wellness. This is to promote that help is here and resources are
available. Visitors are also encouraged to consider volunteering their time and skills to become part of our Mental Health Advocates’ community.
For any mental health services inquiry please don’t hesitate to call our office at these numbers:
02-8893-1893 / 0917-863-1136 / 0956-053-4257 (M - F, 9 AM - 5 PM) - or - you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Touch’s Counseling and Crisis Line as well as Youth Advocacy teams recently joined the Alab Music and Art Festival in Imus, Cavite by setting up an information booth to educate and encourage youths to help spread mental health awareness. This is just one of In Touch’s many activities in observance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September.
In Touch’s Helpline Manager Bernadette Logan said, “Mental health advocacy is a year-round campaign for our organization but every September we give special attention and effort to improve awareness on this often taboo but vital subject matter. While suicide rates are higher in adults than in youths, it remains one of the leading causes of death in teens and young adults.”
“We urge anyone with mental health issues to know they can get help simply by calling our Crisis Line numbers. This service is free, available 24/7 and we guarantee confidentiality. We have been operating in the Philippines for more than 40 years and our team of professionals is well trained to help on any issues including the young age groups.
In Touch welcomes volunteers who are willing to undergo a comprehensive training program to become helpline responders. For more information, visit our Crisis Line Training page.
For counseling appointment requests, (call only):
(+63 2) 8893-1893 / 0917-863-1136 / 0998-841-0053
Kindly note that these numbers are only available for calls and unable to receive messages