“Its okay not to be okay,” said Llewelyn Issa B. dela Cruz, an expert from the Philippine Mental Health Association during the webinar: Ensuring Wellbeing in the Workplace Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic for ECC Employees on July 15, 2020.

Dela Cruz focused on the following topics: Context of the Current Pandemic, Definition of Mental Health, Mental Health Continuum, Importance of Mental Health in the Workplace, COVID-19 related stress and its effect to your mental health, and Component of a Workplace Mental Health Program.

In the course of her discussion on the Mental Health Continuum, she emphasized that “Mental health is not a mental disorder” contrary to what other people think. She highlighted that in this time of pandemic, it’s okay not to be okay in terms of realizing one’s potential and coping with the normal stresses of life.

During one of the sessions, Dela Cruz helped the participants identify their stressors. She provided some advise on how to cope with the challenges during this pandemic which included (1) staying fit and healthy, (2) accepting who you are and the things you cannot change, (3) staying in touch with your friends and family members, (4) practice positive thinking which means looking at the positive side of any situation, (5) tapping your inner strength by drawing on the past coping skills that helped you manage adversities and use them to manage emotions during this challenging time, (6) reduce your exposure to negative people and information, (7) use your time productively by developing new skills and engaging in new hobbies, (8) practice mindfulness and other relaxation exercises.

ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis opined during one of the discussions that, “ We can describe a healthy workplace, if all the workers, including the managers, are actively contributing to promote and protect the health, safety and well-being of all.”

Dela Cruz said that an effective Workplace Mental Health Program includes (a) prevention, promotion, information and education campaign on mental health and well being, (b) treatment and recovery, (c) integration of mental health in HR policies and programs and (d) constant review of working conditions.

The Philippine Mental Health Association is offering Online Support to those in need of Professional Assistance in regards to their mental health. You may reach them through mobile number 09360344130 for more information.

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