MANILA - Cultivate a culture of listening.
That's the advice of two mental health advocates as conversations on tackling depression here in the Philippines become more mainstream.
Actress Shamaine Buencamino and Dr. Honey Carandang said it is important for families to be accepting of their loved ones' emotions and tell them seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.
"We always want them to be happy, so they don't tell us when they're sad," Buencamino said.
"I think we should mention that, because in most Filipino families, bawal malungkot... Wala kang reason malungkot. Nasa iyo na ang lahat," Carandang added. "And the child feels there's something wrong with me for feeling sad."
For Carandang, it is important to tell teenagers that it is okay to seek help.
"I think the first thing to tell them really is that it's a sign of strength to ask for help... You're smart if you ask for health. It's being smart when you ask for help," she said.
"The last thing they should do is to blame themselves," Buencamino added.