By Roy Lagarde

Saying that the coronavirus pandemic is increasing psychological suffering, a Church official stressed that now is the time to prioritize mental health reported CBCPNews.

Camillian Father Dan Cancino, Executive Secretary of the Church’s Episcopal Commission on Health Care, said that the pandemic is not only attacking physical health but also mental health.

He said the past few months of quarantine has led to mental health issues, especially to the young generation.

The priest, who is also a medical doctor specializing in public health and infectious diseases, stressed the need for a “collective” effort to improve access to mental health services and support.

“It is high time to also focus our attention on mental health and give importance to it,” Fr. Cancino said in a webinar for teachers and school administrators on Tuesday.

“Let’s bring this commitment forward to really increase the awareness and the value of mental health at all levels of society,” he said.

Dubbed as “AKAP Guro: CONNECTed”, the first webinar on mental health and psychosocial support was organized by Unilab Inc., in preparation for the next school year’s opening.

After years of neglect in mental health services, Fr. Cancino said that the pandemic is now hitting communities with additional mental stress.

Those most at risk, according to him, are those grieving the death of a family member, healthcare front liners, elderly, and young people.

“What we truly need right now is concern for each other’s well being for us to promulgate this issue on mental health,” he added.

In the Church, the ECHC has been advocating parish-based mental health programs.

Fr. Cancino said that they are also developing a more integrated mental health program for educators and schools.

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