Palace spokesman Harry Roque and Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday assured Filipinos that “it is okay not to be okay” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Ang gusto ko lang hong iparating sa ating mga kababayan, unang-una, it’s okay not to be okay,” Vergeire said in a Palace briefing.

“Lahat po tayo nakakaranas ng mga ganiyang pakiramdam sa ngayon dahil sa sitwasyon na ito pero kailangan lang po ang suporta ng pamilya, suporta ng komunidad,” she added.

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) on its website said that “it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Fear, worry and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown,” it explained.

In July 2020, the Social Weather Stations poll found that 79 percent of Filipinos thought their quality of life worsened in the pandemic-hit 2020 compared with last year.

READ: Gov’t ‘understands’ drop in Filipinos’ quality of life amid pandemic – Palace

The WHO added that “new realities” of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children and lack of physical contact with family members, friends and colleagues contributed to the worsening of people’s emotional well-being.

Vergeire also called on the public to stop the stigma around mental unwellness.

“Kailangan lang po huwag nating i-stigmatize ang disease na ito para po ang ating mga kababayan pagkatapos nilang magkasakit ay makabalik uli sa kanilang komunidad at makapagtrabaho nang maayos,” she said.

Over the weekend, the government sought help from religious leaders to address the “alarming increase” in suicide cases amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The following institutions offer free mental health counseling:

National Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 09178998727 | 989-USAP (989-8727)

UP Diliman Department of Psychology and Psychosocial Services: 09063743466 | 09167573157 |

Ateneo Bulatao Center for Psychological Services: 426-5982 | John Ezekiel J. Hirro