Lingayen's 'breakthrough undertaking' with PLDT, Smart enables youth mental wellness

mental wellness

Championing mental wellness to more communities, PLDT and Smart, through the Better Today program, collaborated with the local government unit (LGU) of Lingayen, raising youth awareness on mental health. 

Entitled, “Better Today with Lingayen”, the conversations series held last November 12 has initially garnered at least 4,000 views. 

According to Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo N. Bataoil, mental health is equally important as physical health, especially when it comes to one’s over-all well-being. Bataoil shared that the LGU’s collaboration with PLDT and Smart when it comes to raising mental health awareness is “a breakthrough undertaking”. 

“We will not turn a blind eye to the needs of our youth… May they be reminded that they have someone to lean on, someone to talk to, and someone who is there. All of our programs and advocacies are geared in ensuring a bright future for the youth of Lingayen,” Bataoil said. 

Bataoil also underscored the importance of reaching out to loved ones and friends, especially amid the pandemic. “Malayo ang mararating ng simpleng “kumusta?” (A simple “how are you?” will go a long way),” Bataoil added. 

In addition, Lingayen Vice Mayor Judy Vargas-Quiocho emphasized how creating platforms such as the conversations series on mental health awareness becomes an important tool in providing a safe space for people to express themselves and their feelings. 

“The very first step para lumuwag ang pinagdadaanan natin ay pag-usapan natin ito… May kakampi kayo. May karamay kayo. May kasama kayo (The very first step to lighten your load is by talking about it, [and know] that you have someone to lean on, to be with, and to support you),” Vargas-Quiocho said. 

The event followed a talk show format where it invited mental health professionals Dr. Ricardo Guanzon and psychologist Arvin Villalon, and mental health advocate Claudia Barretto. 

Guanzon talked about grief and loss and its coping mechanisms. He shared the five stages of grief, which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. He emphasized the importance of accepting the reality as a critical part of moving on and moving forward. 

Meanwhile, Villalon talked about how it is important to know the issues that one faces. “We have to be honest about ourselves and our feelings, and to know that it is okay to ask for help,” Villalon said. 

For her part, student and mental health advocate Claudia Barretto shared her personal experience as she continues to fight her mental struggles. According to Barretto, she remains strong and resilient by creating a safe space for her to express herself, which helps validate her own feelings. 

PLDT and Smart seek to uplift and improve the overall physical and mental wellness of Filipinos through initiatives that ensure food security, improve nutrition, and create awareness online. 

These initiatives emphasize the commitment of PLDT and Smart to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being.