Covid-19 changed almost everything. For us, work schedule shifts to WFH setup, others lost their jobs. Kids shift to online learning style making them stuck at the laptop screens for a longer time. Staying home 24/7. Apprehensive to go outside for fear of contracting the virus. Experiencing cabin fever for being isolated from family and friends. Kids suffered the most, lonely and missing the outdoor activities knowing its their innate nature of being playful and sociable.
Looking for ways to cope the pandemic financially, physically and mentally is really challenging. So glad that a group of professionals in cooperation of government agencies is advocating for a Healthier Philippines.
The Bayanihan for WellBeing Initiative led by Unilab Foundation, Inc., is bringing us the first-ever Filipino Family WellBeing Virtual Conference February 12-13, 2021 with a theme “Pagsulong ng Pamilyang Pilipino sa Panahon ng Pagbabago” is set to addressing issues related to family wellbeing.
The 2-day conference will have three sessions that will be delving into different aspects of Filipino family wellbeing, raise awareness on its value and impact on the mental health of the family, which can hopefully build meaningful partnerships and cultivate a culture of family wellbeing promotion.
The focus areas include:
- AWARENESS-RAISING on the understanding and importance of ffamily wellbeing during
the time of pandemic.
- BUILDING MEANINGFUL AND GAINFUL PARTNERSHIPS by gathering healthcare professional, counselors, teachers, parents/guardians, and other allied professions to share their knowledge and insights on how we can strengthen Filipino families in the time of pandemic.
- CULTIVATING A CULTURE OF FAMILY WELLBEING PROMOTION by advocating for family wellbeing as an essential element in mental health and psychosocial support in all levels of the society.
Challenges of the Filipino Family
In 2020, Filipino families went through various challenges brought about by the pandemic and natural calamities, creating drastic changes in family dynamics, such as financial and economic concerns. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), 73.5% of Filipino households had at least one member of the family experience job loss or workload reduction. This resulted to financial instability, with 85% of households experiencing financial difficulty during the pandemic.
In terms of psychological impact, a study entitled “Psychological impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines (Tee, 2020)” showed that a significant percentage, ranging from 13% to almost 17% of respondents have rated the psychological impact of the pandemic, its effects on depressive symptoms and anxiety levels to be moderate to severe. Meanwhile, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) noted a significant increase in monthly calls from 80 pre-lockdown to nearly 400 during the quarantine.
Meanwhile, among the unprecedented social concerns that surfaced during the lockdown is families worrying over their children’s education when schools shifted to online, remote, or distance learning. Children who would normally play outside are required to stay within their homes and adults who have shifted to working from home now had to balance household and career responsibilities, according to a 2020 report by the Humanitarian and Social Research Center (INSAMER).
Role of Family Wellbeing
Family wellbeing is central to addressing issues associated with these challenges. The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (NCPFCE) defines family wellbeing simply as the “safety, health, and financial security of the whole family”, which encompasses both physical and mental health.
The vision of the Bayanihan for WellBeing (BWB) Initiative is for mental health and family wellbeing to be holistic, inclusive, and empowering, targeting particularly families in the Pantawid ng Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to join the discussion. The BWB Collaborative is led by Unilab Foundation, Inc. through its Heads Up PH program with the support of the Philippine Psychiatric Association, Psychological Association of the Philippines, Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, and Philippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Executive Director of Unilab Foundation Lilibeth Aristorenas shared, “Months long after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Filipinos still experience the effects of social confinement, financial disruptions, and burdens of work-life integration. Amplified by different crises in the past year, these stressors continue to debilitate the youth, families, and communities from maximizing their daily life activities. “
“It is in uncertain times like this that mental health and wellbeing must be put at the forefront to address these stresses. Forming healthy familial relationships do not only help the youth cope with the effects of crises but are also essential helping them feel love and security, which impacts their brain development and sense of self and helps them grow up to become confident and resilient individuals,” added Aristorenas.
The Filipino Family WellBeing Conference is completely free and open to all from medical and health professionals and development workers to educators, parents, and the youth.
You can also support the event by donating a Bayanihan for WellBeing Resiliency Play Bag, which is composed of:
(1) Toys like sipa and kickball, which are intended to help children release tension;
(2) Cape and mask which they could design, allowing them to identify their strengths and make them feel like Superheroes; and
(3) Writing and coloring sheets to encourage their creativity and help them express their emotions.
For as little as Php250 / $5.00, you can help raise a resilient child by providing them with materials to help them express themselves and develop coping strategies. Donations can be done via bank deposit with the details below:
Unilab Foundation, Inc.
Account number 0181-0489-72 (Swift code: BOPIPHM)
For suggestions and inquiries on the event including partnership and sponsorship opportunities, you may visit the Bayanihan for WellBeing Facebook page for more details.
You may also contact Camille Mendoza at 0917-867-4169 or Jefferson Hilario at 0917-326-2092.
Together, let’s build a mentally healthy Philippines, one family at a time.