By BSU UPAO - Posted on 30 October 2017

There is no health without mental health.

This is according to Irene Alcantara, Benguet State University Office of Student Services (BSU – OSS) Guidance Counselor stating the rationale of the advocacy on Mental Health Awareness in the University.

According to Alcantara, mental health is not the absence of mental illness but is a state of mind wherein all aspects of an individual’s life is balanced, may it be psychologically, physically, mentally, and socially. If these aspects are balanced, there is a good mental health.

However, Alcantara said that it is difficult for an individual to balance all the said aspects because of environmental factors, external factors, and internal factors. Accordingly, depression manifests itself mostly to adolescents that, in most extreme cases, the aftermath results to suicide.

Alcantara added that among the many factors causing depression, she said that it might be caused by an interplay with social issues such as dysfunctional family cases, abuse cases, and family issues; psychological issues, such as low self-esteem, personality issues; and many more.

To point out the usual symptoms, Alcantara said that we as concerned individuals can help by first identifying the signs of a person suffering from depression. These evident symptoms include, isolation, loss of appetite or overeating, disturbance of sleep or oversleeping, declining academic performance, anxiety, and individuals who use negative coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.

In accordance with the Mental Health Awareness Month, OSS conducted seminars on October 20 and October 27, 2017. Speakers include May Ann Racuya and Pamela Dayao from the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) Baguio-Benguet Chapter who both discussed Understanding Mental Health.

Janet Calado, Department Head of Psychology from the University of Baguio and Dr. Genna Hippolito , Baguio General Hospital Mental Clinic (BGHMC) spoke on Adolescent Depression and Suicide.

In the efforts to prevent mental illness, Alcantara said that the OSS is open for students who needs counseling. In addition, the OSS is currently conducting information dissemination and campaigns to raise awareness among students.

“Kung gusto man nila ng kausap, open ang OSS para makinig (If ever the students wanted to talk, OSS is always open to listen to them),” expressed Alcantara.

For future plans, the OSS is currently preparing advocacy forums especially on positive coping skills, forums on suicide, and the like. She added that the Society of Student Grantees (SOSG) is currently selling advocacy shirts as of press time.

Alcantara also said that OSS will launch advocacy materials in the future to help raise awareness on mental health.

“Hopefully these coming years we expand our reach to the whole University,” concluded Alcantara.//MDPenchog