National Mental Health Summit 2023 takes on MY Kapwa

Since the Mental Health Act was signed into law in 2018, the private sector has also stepped up its efforts in helping citizens address concerns related to their wellbeing. One such entity is Mind You Philippines, which, according to its website, aims to “provide accessible and affordable psychological support for large working communities and individuals from anywhere at any time in the Philippines.”

Mind You Philippines offers mental health services to groups — from business enterprises to nongovernmental organizations and local government units — as well as to individuals. The Mind You App, for instance, can be downloaded for free by individuals who are at least 18 years old. It offers support in English, Tagalog, Bisaya and Ilokano languages.

Support comes in “psychological counselling to all persons living within the Philippines at low cost” not just through regular consultations but also sessions towards “a transformative therapeutic experience.” That’s why there are extra features, such as a community forum, mood tracker, resource center, guided journal and mind-body tool.

Tumataas ’yung bookings namin (There’s an increase in our bookings) with the psychologists when there’s a national crisis,” said senior psychologist Rea Celine Villa, mentioning high inflation and national elections as examples. “That’s where we step in by creating solutions.”

Villa was joined at the panel at the recent media roundtable discussion on mental health with Mind You Philippines’ chief executive officer Yuri Mashall and vice president Miguel Valdez.

Mind You Philippines’ vice president Miguel Valdez. | photographs courtesy of
Mind You Philippines

“A lot of the people who took the session simply wanted their concerns to be validated,” Valdez noted based on the data they’ve gathered and kept private. “It seems as though their fears are often dismissed. People feel their fear is not something they should bring up. That’s what they say during the first session, [like] ‘Will this person accept what I’ll say or just dismiss my fear?’ They look for validation.”

Valdez also noted that “there’s a difference between reported cases and actual cases” related to mental health. “Everybody is affected. There’s no distinction among generations. It’s just that one generation talk more about it. Or another generation has accepted it and doesn’t want to change it.

“But there’s a distinction between genders. Women tend to seek out help. As a man, I would love [for fellow men to] step up on how to communicate their emotions and lessen conflict. It can also be resolved quickly if aggression is set aside.”


National Mental Health Summit 2023

Mind You Philippines also organizes its National Mental Health Summit, which began as an online event in October 2021 in time with the World Mental Health Day that falls every 10th day of the 10th month. In 2022, the summit went on-site at the SM Aura Premier mall in Taguig City.

This year, the venue will be at another part of the city, specifically at the Bonifacio Global City Amphitheater, and it’s happening on 22 October, a Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is open to the public, free of charge.

The summit’s theme is a play on Mind You’s initials, thus MY Kapwa, “a heartfelt reminder that compassion can be found within themselves and our communities.” It also envisions to “shed light on the state of mental health in the Philippines” by offering a day of group therapy with “immersive breakout sessions and talks” from and with mental health experts, fellow advocates and the mental health service organization’s partners. These include actresses Nadine Lustre and Yassi Pressman.

MY Kapwa has the support of The Medical City and the local government of Taguig City in this initiative. It will tackle key topics, such as the importance of having a support system, addressing mental health stigmas and having the courage to be seen, overcome stress and deal with anxiety.

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