By Michaela Tangan
Features Writer, The Philippine STAR

In any crisis, it is common for individuals to feel stressed and worried, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a unique inter-agency forum for coordination, policy development and decision-making involving key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners, stated in its Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.

While battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, affected individuals may exhibit fears of getting ill, dying, losing jobs, not being able to or get dismissed from work, being separated from loved ones due to the quarantine, and being socially excluded for being associated with the coronavirus.

It is also possible for some to avoid seeking medical help in hospitals due to the fear of getting infected while in care. Others might hesitate to attend to the needs of young ones, elders, or persons with disabilities because they feel they might infect the vulnerable.

Many might feel powerless, especially if they are separated from their family or loved ones. Loneliness, helplessness, boredom, and depression might also spike as people need to isolate themselves. Fear might also affect elderlies who have experienced previous pandemics or other similar incidents.

The US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees that feelings of sadness, distress, worry, confusion, fear, and anger are normal during a crisis. However, one can cope with these emotions by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

When an individual begins to feel mental health issues, proper diet and sleep, exercise, and safe social contact with people at home can help.

To lessen the stress, only get information and updates from reliable sources. It is also advised to limit or allot a healthy amount of time for checking stories about the pandemic, especially on social media. Take time, breathe deeply, meditate or stretch, especially when stress is mounting. Use extra hours of the day to do enjoyable and relaxing activities.

To manage emotions, try focusing on coping mechanisms that have been used in the past during difficult times or practice other tips advised by family, friends or health professionals.

Getting in touch, sharing concerns and connecting via call, text, chat, or other messaging channels with family and friends can also help ease stress. For other mental health concerns, seek the help of health workers (psychiatrists or psychologists), social workers, religious leaders, or other professionals who can help lessen any overwhelming feeling.

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to increase globally and in the Philippines, this causes stronger emotions, fear or extreme episodes of anxiety, especially for those suffering from mental health issues.

To assist and give hope to people with mental health concerns, several mental health groups in the country have set up the following hotlines:

Hopeline PH

– (0918) 873-4673
– (0917) 558-4673
– (02) 8804-4673

Philippine Mental Health Association

– (0917) 565-2036

National Center for Mental Health

– (0917) 899-USAP (8727)
– 989-USAP (8727)

In Touch: Crisis Line

– 8893-7603 or (0917) 800-1123
– (0922) 893-8944


– (Messenger)
– contactUGATSandaLine@gmailcom (Skype)

Hopeline PH


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National Center for Mental Health

In Touch: Crisis Line


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