October 12, 2020 – Clarice Oyales
2020 has been tough, but not in the usual way of aching muscles and taxed wallets - but unbearably mind weary-tough. People are spending more time at home and with limited outdoor activities, this means spending more time stewing in toxic social media, as well as our own thoughts - which, as anyone can attest to - isn’t always pleasantly rosy. Research shows that “nearly 80% of people living with mental illness say that Covid-19 and the national response have made their mental health worse.”
Days after the World Mental Health Day, we look at “how people with lived experiences are overcoming the challenges of the lockdown and how, together, we are pushing for a better world, post-pandemic” with the help of the Natasha Goulborn Mindstrong Foundation (NGF), a non-profit dedicated to bringing depression to light through the use of educational lectures, confidential crisis lines, and referrals to partner psychologists.
Registered in SEC 14 years ago, NGF has been keeping the lights on for mental and emotional health to eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness.
NGF was born after its founder, Jean Goulborn lost her daughter, Natasha to suicide from depression. Four years after this heart-rending incident, Jean started NGF believing that people don’t have to listen to their thoughts alone - especially if it screams for help. She believes in the power of listening, to understand and of talking, to heal.
On Becoming Mentally Tougher During Tough Times
Ms. Goulborn believes that these trying times may physically numb people, but it shouldn’t drown the mind with unhealthy inner chatter. The first step to selfcare is to “forgive yourself.” Then, “slowly [peel] each layer of hurt from [your] sensitive heart and ego.”
Remember, that you are not your thoughts. You may have to acknowledge these passing emotions, feelings, and thoughts - but they don’t define you at all. Jean is certain that “there is, within us all, a survival life vest.” She believes this enables us to "bounce back when we suffer the worst situations"…but only if one learns not to bottle everything inside her/him.
Hope is One Call Away
To help its cause, the NGF has established in 2012 HOPELINE, a 24/7 emotional crisis and suicide prevention hotline. HOPELINE makes sure that hope and help is within easy reach, and that after hanging up, a wave of calm and clarity washes over its callers.
Given the current situation, Jean and her team have to “update [their] training manual due to new types of callers with the Covid 19 pandemic [and] hope to finish training new batch of responders.” Their calls average a staggering 72 to 138 callers a day. Alarmingly, callers 8 to-12 years old and 78 to 92 years are beginning to reach out more.
Nonetheless, HOPELINE is honored to be of service. Jean assures all that their lines are open for everyone in need of a lift - promising both mental and emotional support.
A Song about ‘Kapit Lang’
Recently, Jean shed a light on the unspoken illness through an interview with CEO and Founder of Eventscape Stephen Ku - the very same one who co-wrote the song “Kapit Lang (just hold on).” - on mental health. Believing that “the more [mental health] is not talked about, the more it becomes something that is feared or misunderstood,” Stephen and Jean dug deeper into how the track is not just a song but a call to “Kapit Lang.”
If everything seems spiraling, hold on to this song, because sometimes the words we need to hear are in the lyrics.
A Light Inside, not at the End, of the Tunnel
Jean strongly believes that a tunnel shouldn’t be dark and scary, that one must be able to learn how to spark a light and kindle it to see ahead and be guided.
Through NGF Mindstrong, Jean continues to urge people to keep their inner lights blazing, so even through dire times, they can see a clear path to better living—one neither blurred, fogged, or robbed by the darkness in one’s own mind.
Need to reduce stress and improve your ability to cope with the current situation, call HOPELINE at +632.804.4673 or +632.917.558.4673.
You may also visit Natasha Goulbourn Foundation Mindstrong’s official website at www.ngf-hope.org for more information about their mental health programs and projects.
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