The MWSS RO, in partnership with the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA), conducted its first in-house web-based seminar (webinar) entitled, “Psychological First Aid as a Response During the COVID-19 Crisis” on 18 August 2020. The activity served as a venue to promote mental health and well-being among the agency’s employees, particularly during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

MWSS RO Chief Regulator Atty. Patrick Lester N. Ty opened the online event through a discussion of how the pandemic has affected everyone physically, financially, and emotionally; and the importance of providing adequate support mechanisms, including psychosocial interventions such as this seminar, to aid employees in coping with this unprecedented situation.

The webinar resource speaker, Ms. Mirasol A. Pineda, is a registered psychometrician and has been with the PMHA since 2009. She is currently serving as its Human Resources Assistant and Chapter Coordinator Program Head/Program Officer.

Ms. Pineda started the webinar proper by contextualizing COVID-19. She discussed how it is considered the “perfect storm,” which has greatly disrupted different facets of people’s lives. Coping with the stress brought about by the pandemic is different for every person, depending on age, past experiences, and quality of one’s social support. As such, the speaker highlighted that mental health should also be at the forefront of plans and considerations when dealing with the pandemic, since the new normal may be considered a huge stressor.

Ms. Pineda delved into Psychological First Aid (PFA) which is a humane, supportive, and practical assistance to those who have recently suffered exposure to serious stressors. It is designed to reduce distress and foster one’s ability to adapt and recover. She tackled the seven components of PFA: (1) care for immediate needs; (2) educate about normal responses; (3) connect with social support; (4) provide information on coping; (5) support for practical tasks; (6) comfort and console; and (7) protect from risk of infection and any other threats. She also discussed PFA action principles: Look, Listen, and Link. These topics could be applied in day-to-day life to help MWSS RO employees and the people around them cope with the pandemic better. The webinar was a good opportunity for employees to slow down, connect with social support, and learn ways to take proper care of their mental health moving forward.

The MWSS RO expresses its gratitude to webinar resource speaker Ms. Mirasol A. Pineda and to the PMHA for empowering its personnel so that it may continue to provide the highest quality of service to the public amidst this crisis.

Thank you very much!