THE Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center - Task Force (EOC-TF) is encouraging individuals experiencing signs of mental health issues to seek professional help from the Bacolod City Mental Health Care Center (BCMHC).

Em Ang, director of EOC-TF, in a statement, said that bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear during coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones.

She said many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety.

"Losing someone important to us due to Covid-19 can be emotionally devastating - whether a partner, a family member, or a friend," she said.

Ang noted that as the pandemic wears on, necessary public health measures expose many people to experiencing situations linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as isolation and job loss.

"When Covid cases were at its highest, many had lost their lives," the EOC head said.

Ang stressed that the effects of Covid-19 do not only limit one's physical condition but also a person's psychological state.

The EOC-TF closely coordinates with the BCMHC under Dr. Romeo Orcajada Jr., a psychiatrist, to help those who are suffering from mental and emotional conditions.

Some of the symptoms an individual may experience when having depression include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities people usually enjoy, difficulty carrying out everyday activities, loss of energy, change in appetite, sleeping more or less, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

The BCMHC can be reached through Tel. No. (034)700 0647. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, Orcajada said.

"If you think you have depression, talk to someone you trust about how you feel or seek professional help. Mental health clinic is just one call away," Dr. Chris Sorongon, EOC deputy for medical and data analysis of EOC-TF, also said.

He said that depression can be treated.

"Don't be afraid to seek help. With the right support, you can get better," he added.

Dr. Edwin Miraflor Jr., officer-in-charge of City Health Office, also said it is important to try keeping up with activities that you normally enjoy while following minimum health protocols and stay connected with friends and family virtually.

"When the whole community is vaccinated against Covid, including other towns and cities in the province, we may slowly go back to normal. By the time we've reached herd immunity, we may slowly do normal things face-to-face and loosen our restrictions a bit," he said.