CHILDREN who have been confined at home over the pandemic are at risk of depression, warned experts.

“We are concerned about younger children who are deprived of social and emotional learning,” said Dr. Francis Xavier Dimalanta, a member of the board of trustees of the Philippine Pediatric Society, Inc. “A silent pandemic is forthcoming,” he added as he noted the rising numbers of individuals who reported feeling sad, fearful, anxious, and depressed since the start of the pandemic. “It is important that we are cognizant of this. … The biggest strength we have now is our immediate family.”

“Social confinement is a challenge because humans are social,” added Dr. Adelaida Gines, president of the Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association. “Play is a serious activity for children but they don’t go out anymore.”

Children are also affected by how well their parents cope with their own stress, said Dr. Rhodora Andrea Concepcion, president of the Philippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

To address this “silent pandemic,” the Filipino Family Wellbeing Virtual Conference will bring together families, educators, experts, organizations, and government agencies in multisectoral discussions on Feb. 12 and 13. 

“We organized this to identify how the Filipino family can develop to become holistically well,” said Dr. Sheila Hocson, a consultant at Unilab Foundation, Inc., which leads the Bayanihan for Wellbeing Initiative that organized the said event. “A healthier Philippines starts with healthier families.”

Family well-being is defined as the “safety, health, and financial security of the whole family,” (where “health” encompasses both physical and mental health) by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. — Patricia B. Mirasol

The Filipino Family Wellbeing Virtual Conference is free and open to all. Register at and or watch the livestream at the Bayanihan for WellBeing Facebook page on Feb. 12 and 13.