More local government units are teaming up with PLDT and Smart, mobilizing the Filipino youth to champion mental wellness in the Philippines.
Gensan City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) Department Head Rebecca Magante underscores the importance of initial contact when it comes to dealing with persons in distress, which will include providing non-intrusive care and access to mental health professionals for treatment.
Among the latest to collaborate with the Group is the General Santos (Gensan) City Mayor’s Office, through its Youth Affairs and Development Office and the Sangguniang Kabataan, which launched Project Hinabi. The initiative mobilizes the youth to serve as Wellness Aiders from five pilot barangays – Baluan, Calumpang, Fatima, Labangal, and Lagao. This is aligned with PLDT and Smart’s Better Today program, a collaborative initiative and platform on wellness, safe spaces, and changemaking.
Wellness Aiders will be trained extensively before deployment through the Psychological First Aid Training and Remote and Face to Face Simulations of the Wellness Session.
Psychology student Guenevere J. Jore completed her training as a Wellness Aider under Project Hinabi. As a volunteer, she learned to listen and offer non-intrusive practical care and support by linking the clients to the right people and services.
“We are here to remind them that it is okay not to be okay and to instill hope, especially during difficult times. Mental wellness matters because it impacts a person’s well-being,” Jore said.
Gensan City Social Welfare and Development Office Department Head Rebecca Magante lauded PLDT and Smart for supporting the LGUs programs on mental wellness.
“Together with the Local Government Unit of Gensan, we strengthen our mental health efforts. Our goal is to remain in the forefront of mental health initiatives, so that we may influence and persuade other SK Federations and LGUs in the country to adopt the program,” Magante said.
Addressing the youth volunteers, Magante shared that initial contact can make and unmake things. “It determines the next step which will define whether you can save that person or not. Helping them entails that we provide them with the right access to care such as the Psychological First Aid. Saying the right words or even not saying anything at all is the best intervention psychological first aiders can do. Getting them to the right people is the bridge you will do,” she added.
Assistant City Health Officer Dr. Lalaine Calonzo also said that Project Hinabi reinforces better mental health awareness. She suggested a team be created out of all the wellness aiders, to deal with the people struggling in isolation facilities.
Chief Administrative Officer Karl Vincent Quiepo, representing Mayor Ronnel Chua Rivera, pledged the city will always support youth initiatives.
“We need to be there for our people. Through our helplines and Project Hinabi, we can really save lives. We thank all our partners, especially PLDT and Smart, for making this project possible. To our youth volunteers, let’s help and support each other,” he said.
PLDT and Smart seek to uplift and improve the overall physical and mental wellness of Filipinos through food security, improving nutrition, and creating awareness online.These initiatives emphasize the Group’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being.
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