NCMH sees surge in calls on mental health amid COVID-19 crisis


Posted at Apr 28 2020 09:15 PM

A free shuttle for frontliners picks up passengers in front of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong City on April 9, 2020. Larry Monserate Piojo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) on Tuesday reported a surge in the number of calls to their crisis hotline assisting people with mental health concerns.

According to NCMH chief Dr. Roland Cortez, the volume of calls doubled to 200 per day this month from a previous 102 per day since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.

“May mga dinagdag na kami na tao doon sa crisis hotline. Best seller ito kahit nung hindi pa COVID,” Cortez said.

Cortez said they have since put a limit to face-to-face consultations for mild cases, but with consideration to special cases.

“Tumatanggap pa rin kami ng psych patients. Pero dapat ito ‘yong mga disturbed, mga suicidal, mga sinasaktan ‘yong sarili, nananakit. Tinitignan pa rin namin ‘pag malala,” he added.

To seek help, the NCMH hotline is available at 0917-899-USAP or 989-USAP-8227.

Cortez encouraged the public to take advantage of the ECQ by spending quality time with family and trusted friends. 

It will also help to learn new skills such as painting, and playing a musical instrument to provide emotional outlet. 

“The advice I can give: Have a break from the news. Listening to these stories might cause anxiety. It would be better if we listen to our favorite music, watch our favorite movie," Cortez said.

"Promote positive affirmation. Connect with our family and friends and those people we trust, talk about our feelings with them,” he added.

As of April 28, a total of 60 NCMH employees have tested positive for COVID-19 -- 55 are on home quarantine while 5 are admitted in various hospitals.

There are also 16 cases of COVID-19 among psychiatric in-patients, of whom 9 have died. 

- Report from Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News