The Department of Health (DOH) – CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) has provided psychological first aid to a total of 131 individuals in various evacuation centers affected by the Taal eruptions.
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an initial disaster response intervention to promote safety, stabilize survivors of disasters and connect individuals to support services. PFA is provided by mental health professionals and other first responders.
“We need to provide immediate safety for the well-being of individuals in evacuation centers including physical and emotional comfort. We need to calm them and orient emotionally overwhelmed or distressed individuals in order for them to cope with their present situation,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated.
“Especially now that we have the Delta variant virus, we need to provide everyone the proper information on how to stay safe and not to panic and prevent the transmission of the virus in evacuation centers,”
The regional office deployed five mental health & psychosocial support (MHPSS) teams led Ms. Paulina A. Calo, Regional Mental Health Outcome Manager by last July to provide support to evacuees.
“PFA is essential for people who feel emotionally distressed after a crisis event but there are some who may still need specialized help. Kasama dito ang mga indibidwal na nagkakaroon ng very serious emotional reactions, gaya ng pagiging disoriented at yung iba nawawala sa sariling katinuan at hindi na maalagaan ang sarili at napapabayaan na rin ang kanilang mga pamilya.”
“Pag mayroong mga kasong ganito, we immediately refer them to specialty hospitals for immediate and proper treatment,” Calo emphasized.
Calo visited evacuation centers in the towns of Alitagtag, Balayan, Balete, Laurel, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Talisay, San Jose and Tanauan in the province of Batangas.
Meanwhile, a total of 287 children aged 7 to 12 years old were given art activity kits.
Director Janairo stressed the importance of giving special attention especially to children in evacuation centers because they are also affected with the disaster.
“Kailangang mapangalagaan din natin ang kanilang mental health by providing meaningful play and leisure activities gaya ng art artivities na maari nilang magawa na kasama ang iba pang mga bata o ng kanilang mga magulang.
A total of 300 evacuees composed of children, senior citizens, PWDs wwere also given grocery items in Talisay Batangas – Tumaway , Aya and Motorpool evacuation centers.
“This activity will help facilitate creative expression including social interaction with peers and collaboration. Parents can also provide support by providing guidance to their children in expressing their thoughts and imagination,” he added.
The regional mental health unit continues to conduct regular monitoring activities to evacuees still residing in evacuation centers in Batangas province.