MANILA -- A cosmetics brand has partnered with experts and groups to put up a mental health support website in the Philippines.
Visitors of the online platform Break Your Stigma, a project of BYS Philippines, can find a directory of psychiatrists and therapists that they can reach out to for their mental health concerns.
It also has sections dedicated to stories related to mental health, as well as a calendar of future events and workshops.
"If we can talk about our skin or our makeup not being perfect, we can normalize talking about our mental health not being perfect as well," said iFace Inc. president Angie Goyena during the virtual launch of Break Your Stigma. The company is the distributor of the Australian brand BYS in the country.
"Our goal is to give everyone a safe and secure platform where you can get help on your own terms, and help others find help, too," she added.
Goyena said they are also in talks with doctors so they can give better rates, noting that cost is another challenge faced by people with mental health conditions.
She also mentioned plans for a fund where Break Your Stigma can sponsor patients who cannot afford to get treatment.
"In the next couple of months, we will be adding more services to the website. We will be having podcasts, sponsorship packages to help people, and we will also be asking certain doctors if they can give out pro bono work," Goyena said.
"Because treatment is not short-term," she pointed out. "For you to get well, it's a long-term treatment. Therefore, the costs are very high."
According to Goyena, Break Your Stigma marks the ninth anniversary of BYS in the Philippines.
She believes that the launch of a mental health support platform, instead of the usual festivities, is the kind of celebration "we feel is most relevant and necessary right now."
"We know this website is just a small step, our own little part, and we can't do it alone. But with your participation, we can make it possible to help everyone find help. It is only when we break our stigma that we can truly be yourself," she said.