Health issues

Primary Care Physicians Should Seek Help With Mental Health Problems

There is no longer any doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a great impact on everyone’s lives, especially education, livelihoods, employment and job security, and others. implications.

More important to note, however, is that mental health challenges have increased dramatically in the year and a half that the pandemic has continued, with 3.6 million Filipinos suffering from poor mental health.

During the “Mental Health Matters” webinar hosted by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), webinar panelists were asked about mental health issues facing primary care physicians. One of the issues is that many have expressed continued fear and stress about the situation, especially contracting the virus that they can take home to their families. Physical and emotional fatigue from work and other concerns takes its toll.

Mariflor “Yeng” Gatchalian of DALTA Perpetual Health University, said mental health issues are present. You have to be aware of it to be able to manage it. However, feelings of distress and sadness are perfectly normal. She added that everything that is happening is brand new. Even in hospitals where the patient queue has already reached the parking lot, this is something new to frontline people no matter how long they have worked in hospitals.

Fear of infection

Before, they can go home after their duty and bond with their families; this is no longer the case since there is the fear of infecting their family members with the virus. “Mixed emotions really give us negative feelings because we’re always trying to get used to it. This is normal, but we need to know the settings.

Riyan Portuguez of Wellbridge Health, Inc., recognizes that everything primary care physicians go through is genuine and difficult, and they already feel tired. She also echoed what Gatchalian said, that “we need to be aware of how our body is feeling so that we can determine when to seek professional help with how we are feeling.”

She said some people, like primary care physicians, also feel they are being overlooked by the government and are fed up with this setup. The government’s response has an effect on their work. As they try to follow the policies, they strongly feel that the government is failing in the way they treat them

Good management

Pierce Docena, a psychometrician who graduated from the University of the Philippines — Visayas (Tacloban College), also agreed that there may be something missing not only from the government side but also from the local government or even the hospital administration. “It is important that there is good management within the organization, and that contributes to the mental health of everyone. This is something they should be thinking about as well.

As to when frontliners should seek professional help, it’s a matter of ‘reacting’, which is doing something without thinking, and ‘responding’, which is what we think is wrong. ‘first before answering, according to Gatchalian. She said when we feel too toxic or exhausted, the thinking part is already gone. “When it is already an impairment of our regular daily functions such as sleep, loss of concentration or sleep, the experience of painful thoughts, and if all this has been going on for some time, it may be -be time to seek professional help to help us manage what we are going through so that it does not develop into a psychological disorder.

For people with disabilities, especially women like Melagros Maguiling, chairperson of the Differently-Abled Women Network (DAWN), women with disabilities volunteers, as well as primary care physicians, are also experiencing stressful situations due to the pandemic, such as the duration of it, will they want to be able to work, pay bills, as well as government support. “Women with disabilities go through much of the same things as primary care physicians, anxiety, stress, burnout, and they also need all the support they can get.”

Community approach

On the government side, Dr Beverly Ho, Director IV, Department of Health Promotion and Communication, Department of Health (DOH), said during and even before the pandemic, the department’s goal was to democratize mental health services and promotion. . “This means that everyone has a role to play in improving the environment for all of us so that our behavior about how we react to situations is more supportive and more empowering.”

She said that before when people talked about health-related behaviors, including mental health, it was often very individual. Clearly, she said, the framework has to change, and as much as individual behavior is important, the enabling environment has also become considerably more important. She said that DOH, among its mental health initiatives, has taken a community-based approach, that mental health services are accessible on the front line through regular health workers and even lay volunteers and not just health workers. specialists.

René Meily, president of the PDRF, said mental health was one of the major issues in this ever-endless medical emergency, especially for frontline physicians who constantly face danger, despair and fear. distress. “For them, going to work every day is an act of courage because they are in the eye of the Covid-19 storm. What we can do to help them is continue to support them on how they can cope. Let us join this battle and remember that we are all in the same boat. ”

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