Health issues

PDRF, experts address mental health issues for frontline people during pandemic – Philippines

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021, MANILA – The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) K3 Project in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Program recently hosted a virtual roundtable addressing the mental health issues of physicians frontline during the pandemic.

Entitled “Mental Health Matters,” the online event brought together more than 1,000 participants from local government units, hospitals and various sectors across the country. The discussion focused on the pandemic-induced mental health issues facing primary care physicians, such as exceptional stress, extreme workloads, tough decisions, risks of infection and the spread of disease. infection in families and communities and death of patients.

According to the World Health Organization of the Philippines Special Initiative for Mental Health, approximately 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from poor mental health.

Dr Beverly Ho, director of the Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Health Promotion, said the DOH aims to “democratize” mental health services and promotion.

“This means that you and I, all of us, have a role to play in improving the environment for all of us, so that our behavior and the way we react to situations will be more supportive and empowering,” added Dr. Ho.

Experts from universities in different regions and the Commission on Human Rights explored possible solutions and shared their best practices to alleviate common mental health issues for healthcare workers.

Panelists included Riyan Portuguez (Wellbridge Health Inc.), Pierce Docena (University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College), Mariflor Gatchalian (University of Perpetual Help DALTA) and Milagros Maquiling (Differently-Abled Women Network). Dhanika Garcia from MentalHealthPH moderated the discussion.

In addition, the discussion highlighted the need to normalize the dialogue on mental health in society and to better equip health workers and individual citizens to administer psychological first aid to people in distress.

“So a lot of the work we do in governance, development, humanitarian aid – a lot is tangible. But the important things are not visible and that is resilience, sanity – we cannot see them but they are so powerful. We hope this webinar will be an instrument to strengthen this invisible but very powerful space, ”said Dyan Rodriguez, New Zealand Aid Program Manager.

“Mental health is one of the major issues in this protracted emergency. This is especially true for our frontline caregivers who face danger, hopelessness, stress and hardship, ”said PDRF President Butch Meily. “What we can do is continue to support our medical staff, nurses and doctors. Social cohesion, a sense of solidarity and the ability to cope are essential to help us get through the pandemic. “

A recording of this webinar along with other free mental health resources, such as an online certificate course in mental health and wellness, as well as downloadable posters and infographics are available at K3 Project website.

The K3 or Kalinga para sa Kalusugan ng Komunidad project is an initiative of the PDRF and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aid for Trade program which aims to strengthen the capacities of the health system of LGUs, hospitals and communities across the country to address the COVID-19 crisis and future disruption through innovative training and community education.



The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) is the country’s primary private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster resilience. As a business alliance dedicated to building private sector disaster risk management capacity in the country, PDRF aims to contribute to the sustainable development and general well-being of the Filipino people. For more information visit

Media contact

Camille Rae Lim
Communications Officer
Philippine Foundation for Disaster Resilience

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