Tough Banana, a local health snack brand, has branched out to also start offering a mental resilience program customizable for individuals, schools, and companies.  

“Everyone experiences life challenges at different stages in their lives,” said Eric L. Dimar, a psychologist and registered guidance counsellor with DMR Psychological Services. Mr. Dimar co-developed the Tough Banana resilience program with its co-founder, Cherry S. Kho.  

“The information that we share is something anyone at any point in their life can use,” he added in an e-mail. “The earlier we realize these things, the better it is in the long run.”  

A free Zoom webinar on May 6 ( has been organized for those who wish to know more about the program.  

Tough Banana started as a snack in 2019, Ms. Kho said.  

“But then we felt it would be more powerful to integrate the physical and mental — as both need each other to be more valuable and useful,” she added in the same e-mail. “Also, resilience is something that is so natural for Filipinos to capitalize on.”  

Divided into four parts, the program’s first session introduces the concept and value of resilience. It also serves as a baseline measure for determining the training’s effectiveness. Subsequent sessions focus on growth mindset, mental toughness, and how to turn frustration to motivation.  

Modules are also available for subjects such as team communication and trust building.  

A total of 40 employees from two company clients have thus far completed the program since its inception in November 2021.  

Resilience is bouncing back to one’s “normal” after adversity, according to Mr. Dimar. It is responding to situations with calmer centeredness. 

“There are people who are naturally resilient. The program can help build on that,” Ms. Kho told BusinessWorld. On the other hand, “there are people who are easily affected by unforeseen life events. This program can help them become more resilient.”  

The snack, meanwhile – whose main ingredient is bananas – likewise symbolizes hardiness.  

“Saba banana  is a resilient plant that doesn’t require much care and can grow essentially anywhere,” Ms. Kho said.  

Several studies have shown the connection between a healthy diet and mental wellness. Among the particular nutrients found in bananas is potassium, which supports heart health, and fiber, which helps manage blood sugar levels.  

PhilCare, a health maintenance organization, gleaned from its 2021 survey that the major causes of work-related stress are: 1.) getting exposed to COVID-19 at work (52%), and, 2.) taking care of both personal and family needs while at work (45.7%).  

To combat stress, PhilCare suggests that companies implement a clear strategy on how to respond to the economic impact of the pandemic. It also suggests setting clear guidelines on how to promote employee safety and wellness. 

Providing their staff with mental health support goes beyond the requirements of Republic Act Number 11036 (the 2018 Mental Health Act) and Order No. 208-20 (the Department of Labor and Employment’s guidelines for mental health policies), said the co-developers of Tough Banana’s resilience program.  

“People are a company’s number one resources. Taking care of their people in a holistic manner – financial, inspirational, physical, and mental – should always be the case,” Ms. Kho said in the same e-mail. Life will not always be easy, which is why it is “important that we ready ourselves [for] when tough times come. — Patricia Mirasol