THE first family support group is being eyed for the city to assist families of mental health patients.
Gina Camsol of the Philippine Mental Health Association Cordillera Chapter Inc. (PMHACCI) said through the Family Support Group (FSG), family members and caregivers of clients with mental illness will be empowered to understand and care better for their client-family members and equip them with positive coping skills and create a supportive atmosphere among the FSG members.
Over the weekend, visual artists, poets, writers and psychologists opened “ArThrive: Rise Above Mental Health Challenges,” an art and poetry exhibit at the GI Lodge.
Proceeds of the exhibit will help form the first FSG for caregivers and loved ones of those diagnosed with mental health conditions.
Camsol said FSG will enable them to meet once a month with activities conducted for them.
“The activities will be based on the needs assessment that we will be conducting on their 1st meeting. We did not have this program before due to the limitation of PMHA in terms of finances and staff,” he added.
The month-long exhibit displays illustrations, poetry and testimonials of people with mental disorders with their caregivers and family support group written and interpreted by Psychology professionals from Saint Louis University.
“Advocating mental health is very challenging basically because of the stigma attached to it. People often prefer not to talk about it. Also, due to limited number of mental health practitioners, only few are reached by the advocacy. However, with arts, I think mental health is given a more attractive face since its beauty and positive aspect is given emphasis contrary to the stigma attached to it,” Camsol said.
Camsol added through artwork, more individuals can be reached.
“Artwork can entice an innocent passerby to look into its message, the involvement of artists in the mental health advocacy shows that MH is really the concern of everyone and anyone can help in advocating the cause of mental health,” she said.
Participating artists are Gladys Anne Labsan, Daniel Palma Tayona, Kelly Ramos, Jhoan Medrano, Jimbo Docena Albano, Kora Dandan Albano, Dindo Llana, Venariz Martinez, Joseph Andrew Carvajal, Ged Alangui, Earljohn Desuasido, Czarina Calinawagan, Bumbo Villanueva, Ray Yodong, Kidlat de Guia with writers; Ashley Valdez, Aidylvir Borje, Loreaine Cerezo, Mia Warren – Cheong, Bing Maximo, Faridah Cabbigat, Eric Pascua, Triceayn DG Prestousa, Ederlyn Gatchalian, Nerisa Gonzalo, Jeremy Dela Cruz, Kryza Sito, Gerz Sanil, with documentation by Ompong Tan and Ric Maniquis.