Mental health is an important component of health. The World Health Organization (WHO) states, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition implies that more than the absence of mental disorders or disabilities, mental health is also a state of well-being that empowers individuals to cope with the daily stresses of life and to realize their abilities. This year, the anxiety brought about by the pandemic coupled with the stress from remote learning is a recipe for disaster for the University of the Philippines Diliman students. As we traverse these uncertain times, there is a greater need to amplify our call for mental health awareness.
To answer the need for collective action towards mental health, UP Mental Health Month is setting sail this October. UP Mental Health Month, or UP MHM, is a month-long celebration that aims to continue raising awareness about mental health and breaking the stigmas that come with it. Apart from promoting mental self-care practices, UP MHM Team encourages everyone to take part in healthy discourse about mental health and highlights the importance of community in addressing psychological concerns. Various student councils and Psychology organizations have joined forces to bring to the UPD community the biggest university-wide celebration of mental health yet!
With the constraints brought about by the pandemic, UP MHM is shifting to a different stage and taking on the challenge of bringing their initiatives completely online. This year’s UP MHM is titled Dambayan, a portmanteau of Damay + Akbay + Bayan. Through its theme of Connection, it spreads the much needed support no matter where people are. Through a webinar titled “Usap Tayo?”, attendees were able to hear from different professionals on socio-political aspects of mental health. In order to help lift the stresses of online learning and working, UP MHM featured Chillax: different workshops on mindfulness and stress management techniques. Other initiatives such as Bigay-Gabay: a guide about available COVID-19 mental health services, Kaya ‘To, Kaya Mo: a series of motivational posts on Facebook and Instagram, and Mars, Alam Mo Ba: a series of downloadable videos on important mental health topics were all able to deliver the support everyone needs during these trying times.
Though we are nearing the end of October, UP Mental Health Month is not going to say goodbye just like that. UP MHM brings to you the best way to end a month-long celebration of mental health – a gig night featuring local bands and artists who are also advocates for mental health. Gig N’ Take, going live on October 31, features artists like Ang Bandang Shirley, Purples N’ Oranges, Indayo, Andrej Agas, Dez and Del, Joshua Kim, Water the Odds, Grrl Cloud, 7th, Sabrina Manansala and Benny Manaligod.
As we all adjust to our new normal, we hope to create safe spaces and meaningful connections for everyone now more than ever. We may be apart, but we are never alone. Know that you’ve got a friend in us. Join us as we bring Mental Health to the mainstream! To know more, check out our social media pages:
Facebook: UP Mental Health Month