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Setting Up a COVID-19 Mental Health Response Strategy among Local Government Units

This policy brief outlines some recommendations in establishing an effective mental health response strategy for Philippine local government units in addressing mental health issues related to COVID-19. Aside from the physical health consequences, COVID-19 has also adversely affected the socio-economic well-being of individuals and communities. As a result of the pandemic, mental health issues have become the other pandemic that requires immediate response. As COVID-19 cases increased in recent months, mental health cases grew as well. In Southeast Asia, mental health problems like trauma, depression, and anxiety rose in recent months (Azuddin 2020; Matulessy, 2020). In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) claims that suicide cases increased last year (DOH, 2020). With the rise of mental health-related issues across the region, various strategies of interventions were also implemented. In the Philippines, both national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) initiated multiple actions to address these mental health issues. Furthermore, private organizations also provided help to complement government efforts. This paper enumerates recommendations for LGUs as they address the emerging mental health issues of citizens using the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) approach in emergency settings, psychological first aid (PFA), and telepsychology.


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