The Davao City government in partnership with the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) will soon launch a helpline for Dabawenyos needing psychosocial support amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Covid-19 Operation Center Hotlines will take calls or will triage for clients seeking psychosocial support and they will be forwarded to representatives from PMHA where they will be screened for an online consultation before they are referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist, or to City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) social workers on duty.

“Hopefully, we can start catering clients before Christmas or as soon as possible, since a lot of people feel distressed especially during this holiday season when they are supposed to celebrate with family and friends,” said Dr. Marjorie Culas, Davao City Assistant City Health Officer. 

Professionals from the PMHA will be catering to the clients’ psychosocial concerns. After they are screened, clients will be referred to online individual counselling with a psychologist or an online consultation with a psychiatrist, or they can consent for an online group counselling.

“They can be Covid-19 patients who need mental support; Covid-19 survivor; or they can be relatives or family members of Covid patients. Also, they do not necessarily need to be Covid-19 patients or relatives. We can also cater to anyone affected or experiencing anxiety or depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

Culas said that the call takers will undergo an orientation on how to take these calls since their role in the mental wellness program is crucial.

“It is crucial since we have to observe confidentiality of the clients’ information, at the same time we have to screen whether the clients are really willing to undertake the service and make sure that they are serious about this,” she said.

The mental wellness program for clients who are affected by Covid-related anxiety or depression is set to cater to clients this week. CIO