A Philippine Church official called for stronger action on mental health as part of programs to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Camillian priest Dan Cancino, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care, said the effects of the pandemic, including on mental health, are here to stay.
“We have to act to contain it,” said the priest, adding that it is “another pandemic aside from COVID-19.”
The priest was speaking during an online press conference for the national celebration of the World Day of Sick hosted by the Diocese of Naval.
Father Cancino stressed the importance of mental health as quarantine restrictions lead many to feel isolated.
“Mental health issues and problems would be another pandemic if we’ll not be together in helping our brothers and sisters,” he said.
Even before the pandemic, the health care commission of the bishops’ conference has been giving online courses and training of volunteers to become “online accompanist.”
Bishop Rex Ramirez of Naval, chairman of the commission, also emphasized the significant role of the family, the church, and the broader community in dealing with the issue.
In his diocese, the prelate said a group of parents and young people is being organized for a mental health training program.
“It seems that the youth are the most affected by these issues coming from the pandemic,” said Bishop Ramirez.