In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) released global health estimates on depression and other mental health disorders. They reported that in the Philippines, 3.3 million people suffer from depression; and 3.1 million suffer from anxiety disorders. So why aren't more people talking about it?
Though there's been an increase in mental health awareness, the stigma still exists. When someone's going through it at work, for example, you might hear comments like, "Talaga ba?" or "Nag-iinarte lang 'yan."
This is exactly what Upjohn, a Pfizer division, wants to address with their #BreakTheStigma campaign. In a press release, Dr. Robert Buenaventura, who currently serves as Board Secretary at the Philippine Psychiatric Association, stated, "Misconceptions on mental illnesses just isolate those who actually suffer from the condition. We need to keep talking about it and get more people aware of the facts so they can make decisions based on science."
At a media briefing, Cosmo.ph got the chance to ask Dr. Buenaventura about how an employee can talk to her boss if her mental health is suffering.
He said, "The individual should seek help first so when you get the opportunity to talk to your immediate supervisor or boss, you have a better understanding of what you're suffering from. Because you may not have a mental health condition, but you may have a mental health concern-that's something you should clarify first." The two important things at a workplace are: 1) company culture and 2) the employee's relationship with her immediate supervisor. And the employee is in the best position to understand both.
Riyan Portuguez of #MentalHealthPH, a social media advocacy group that aims to promote and protect mental health in the Philippines, also gave her insights on the matter: "The company or organization should try to be safe and inclusive...Dapat i-remove ng mga organizations 'yong mga nandadagdag ng stress sa employees [nila]."
She continued, "For example, okay, may mga programs [sila] para mabawasan yung anxiety pero kung hindi [nila] binabago yung policies ng workplace, kahit anong yoga natin, hindi siya mawawala...Hindi siya usually problem lang ng employee."