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More adolescents calling mental health hotline —DOH exec

More adolescents have been seeking consultation for mental health concerns through the hotline of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Dr. Agnes Joy Casiño from the DOH Mental Health Division said the number of calls to the NCMH hotline has increased by around four times since early 2020.

Casiño said callers are either in distress or seeking a referral for a healthcare provider they can consult.

“What’s alarming, ‘yung mga younger ones, medyo mga bata, calling na (the younger ones are calling that) they wanted to talk to someone for mental health consultation or services,” she said in an online forum.

“Most of them are in their adolescence. Most of them, ang calls nila ay ‘yung stress from school, ‘yung nasa bahay lang, hindi sila makalabas, so gano’n ang concerns nila,” she added.

(Most of them are in their adolescence… Most of their calls are about stress from school, being unable to leave their houses. Those are their concerns.)

Casiño stressed, however, that none of the calls from adolescents have been considered to be “extreme cases.”

She also said a study by the University of the Philippines conducted from March to April 2020 found that a fourth of the 1,879 respondents reported moderate to severe anxiety, while a sixth reported moderate to severe depression and psychological impact.

Casiño said healthy ways to cope with stress include taking care of the body by eating healthy and exercising regularly, making time to unwind, and connecting with others.

The NCMH hotline may be reached through 1553 or 0966-351-4518, 0917-899-8727, or 0908-639-2672. — LA, GMA News