Filipino student’s short story tackling mental health picked for literary prize in UK

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2021 03:00 AM

Filipino student’s short story tackling mental health picked for literary prize in UK 1
Photo from Christian Andrei Laplap

MANILA — A 21-year-old psychology student from University of the Philippines Cebu was recently recognized at the 2020 Hammond House International Literary Prize based in United Kingdom for his short story about mental health.

Christian Andrei Laplap's "The Oddity That Is Them" was one of the entries picked for publishing in the annual Hammond House anthologies due for release early this year.

Laplap's story revolves around two protagonists caught in a chance encounter along a sidewalk.

Both of them are saddled with emotional baggage, and when they bump into one another they find that their traumas still persisted. 

Laplap said he wanted to highlight the value of taking care of one's mental health, and meaningful, life-changing conversations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

"We need to talk about it. COVID-19, the economic recession, loss of income, social isolation, and loss of access to coping resources has affected the mental state of so many people, the breadth of mental health issues seems to still be under-recognized," he told ABS-CBN News in an interview. 

"As a writer, I can do my part by writing about it with the hopes of spreading awareness."

He also has advice to people struggling with mental health. 

"No matter what you are going through, no matter how small, it is still valid despite how other people may make it seem. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don't be afraid to talk about it," Laplap said.

People from different age groups and social classes have become more vulnerable to mental health problems, one psychologist has said, as the coronavirus crisis continues in the Philippines. 

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