PLDT and Smart recently supported San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan’s mental health summit, a Better Today conversations on digital wellness. It was attended by over 230 youth participants from various universities, including Bulacan State University and Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
The summit invited mental health advocates and professionals to share their stories on hope and provide practical tips on self-care, self-kindness, and self-love. Mark Averilla, more popularly known as “Macoy Dubs”, shared his personal mental health journey, which inspired the participants to be more open about their mental health experience.
Macoy shared that he was diagnosed with Dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder in 2016. “I needed to find myself and find ways to help me get through and to heal,” he shared. “Marami tayong pinagdadaanan pero kailangannating tulungan ang sarili natin maging okay, and this begins by practicing self-care and self-love. We need to remind ourselves that the power is in our hands. We can choose what affects us and what can positively impact our own mental wellbeing.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Gia Sison, who serves as the Head of Makati Medical Center’s Wellness Center, also joined the conversations series and shared practical tips on how to best help people who are experiencing mental distress. “We need to practice empathy and not sympathy. Being there for someone doesn’t always mean that we need a space to talk, but instead showing up and actively listening can be of great help and make a difference,” Sison said.
Jelo Andres, who is a Digital Tayo Program trainer, also provided insights on advocacy and youth empowerment. Digital Tayo program by Meta provides accessible digital learning modules and resources to build skills for a digital world in the Philippines.
To strengthen the program, the local government also invited volunteer facilitators and guidance counselors to help participants process the different talk segments through two breakout sessions.
Participants also created mental health ‘manifestos’, which represented the youth’s commitment to become mental health advocates that emanate from the level of the self, family, and the larger community.
Better Today’s emphasis on mental health is a key part of PLDT and Smart’s continuing commitment to help the Philippines contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG), particularly UNSDG #3, which stands for good health and well-being.