The continuous surge of the COVID-19 infection from the time it was declared to be a global pandemic in March 2020 has devastated lives of most Filipinos. Death of loved-ones, stoppage of businesses and livelihood opportunities, unemployment and social isolation all contributed to negative emotions, thus causing the emergence of fear, anxiety and stress that affected the mental health of Filipinos. We were all advised to follow certain protocols and practices and adopt to the “new normal”.

For more than a year now, we are still in this state of uncertainty. The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines has not ebbed our fears and anxiety. Mental health issues evolved into serious ones that needed intervention from professionals and from the experts in the field.

The Open Heart Foundation was made aware of the situation which also affected most families of its beneficiaries, partners in service and other child-service providers. It is for this reason that on May 29 and June 5, 2021 it offered a 2-day webinar entitled: “Light Up: Staying Fit in the New Normal”. We’ve seen this webinar as an opportunity for participants to hone their knowledge and skills to effectively be of service to all in need and also to support their institutions, agencies or organizations.

The objectives of the webinar:

Session 1. Topic: Mental Health Matters

Learning Objectives: At the end of the activity, participants are expected to:

Identify the challenges caused by the pandemic.

  1. Increase understanding of the value of mental health.
  2. De-mystify and break stigma of mental health problems.
  3. Be ready with mental health challenges in their homes and communities.

Session 2. Topic: Mental Toughness: Calming the Storms Within.

Learning Objectives: At the end of the activity, participants are expected to:

  1. Understand compassion fatigue and self-compassion.
  2. Unfold the power to choose the responses for hope and healing.
  3. Be equipped with simple yet effective and cost-efficient stress management solutions and skills to prevent stress disorders.

The Resource Speaker:  Ms. Gladys Ramos. She is a Registered Guidance Counselor and currently working at the Lyceum of the Philippines. She also holds specialized credentials as a Certified Mental Health Trainer awarded by the Center for Credentialing and Education National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC-USA). She continues to serve as one of the mentors of Peer Facilitators and handles Anak OFW.

Ms. Rosalinda Tabios-Perez, The Executive Director of Open Heart Foundation greeted the participants and inspire them to be at their best to share the learnings and take aways as they go back to their own field and community with a renewed and refreshed mind.

This webinar learning sessions were attended by our partners in different areas; from the Cities of Quezon, Manila & Caloocan. Also from the provinces of Cavite, Abra, Pangasinan, Rizal, Sorsogon, Masbate, Catarman, Negros Occidental, Sarangani and Zamboanga del Norte with a total number of 136 participants.

If there is an advantage this time, it’s the connection of people via different platforms in social media.

The Open Heart Foundation considers this webinar as its share in mitigating the negative effects of this pandemic to all child-service providers so that they could continue serving our children during these difficult times.

Mr. Alber Hisoler, the School Principal of Dumalogdog Elementary School, Sindangan, Zamboanga Del Norte gave his learning insights on the first day of the session and Dr. Emelia Ramos, the Campus Director of Romblon State University shared her piece on the last day of the session.

Kudos! To all who participated in our 2-day series Webinar Learning Sessions. We adhere to follow the tips and precautions on how to stay healthy in the midst of these trying times. We can now help other people by helping and taking care of our self first.

To God be all the Glory!  

Prepared by: Davilyn Fajardo, Program Area Coordinator 1