Century Properties Group (CPG) has partnered with the mental wellness organization Shelter from the Storm, Inc. (SFTS) to open a new mental health clinic in CPG’s outpatient medical facility Centuria Medical Makati to make mental healthcare services more accessible.
Under CPG’s corporate social responsibility programs, the initiative aims to equate a person’s psychological, emotional, and social well-being as of equal importance to their physical health, especially in light of pandemic-induced challenges.
As part of their agreement, CPG is providing SFTS free clinic spaces for three years—including dues—to expand its psycho-social health and resiliency programs. Meanwhile, SFTS will provide all CPG employees and their immediate family members with free mental health consultation or assessment sessions, and free quarterly seminars covering a range of topics centering on mental health.
Mental Health in the Philippines today
Based on data from the World Health Organization, mental and behavioral disorders account for about 14 percent of all global diseases and for as many as 450 million people suffering from these illnesses. According to the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health conducted in the early part of 2020 showed that at least 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from one kind of mental, neurological, and substance use disorder.
The pandemic has further affected the mental health of older adults, healthcare providers, and people with underlying health conditions. There is less than one mental health worker for every 100,000 Filipinos, with more people unable to gain access to such services, affirmed DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, emphasizing the dire situation of mental healthcare in the Philippines.
“Most of us focus on physical health, preventing COVID, and financial health. Although these are all important, stronger mental health is also a core component of wellbeing,” said CPG managing director Jose Carlo R. Antonio, who is co-heading the initiative with CPG vice chairman John Victor R. Antonio. “By focusing on mental health, one can better manage one’s physical health and financial issues.”
Mental health as important as physical health
“We definitely want to help, especially those whose abilities to persevere are being tested as this pandemic continues. We thank SFTS for being open to this initiative and we hope this gives people the help that they need right now,” Antonio elaborated that the company chose to advocate for mental healthcare as it is often a neglected aspect of well-being.
SFTS executive director Cenen Corpus agrees that mental health and behavioral healthcare are often overlooked and under-appreciated in the country. “We want to lift up the people behind CPG and the Antonio Family who took on the challenge to [support] this advocacy. Mental health has a longer-term effect and consequences for individuals in our workplace, our community, and society as a whole. Our desire is to help those with acute and chronic mental health conditions, for our friends and loved ones who are suffering.”
Mental health resources more accessible to more people
Being situated in Centuria Medical will surely increase access for both people and CPG employees, showing their commitment in addressing the problems in mental healthcare. “We’re committed to pushing the discussion on the challenges of individual family healthcare, family mental wellness, and work-life balance. This collaboration will be a shelter from the brewing and lingering mental health storm challenging all of us,” Corpus said.
Centuria Medical Makati general manager Rey Dimaano welcomed SFTS to their facility as not only a good complement to the existing clinics in the building, but also “in addressing the increasing need for mental healthcare especially in these times.” CPG Human Resources and Administration group head Ritchelle Cordero likewise underscored the value of such a support program in the company as it “plays a critical role in creating a healthier working environment for CPG employees and nurtures a truly caring community.”
SFTS has been providing coaching and counselling, workplace mental health services, psychological assessment, addiction treatment, and promoting alternative interventions and services to strengthen mental health and behavioral healthcare. They currently have an in-house facility in Antipolo, Rizal, and an outpatient facility in Quezon City. With the new therapy clinic in Centuria Medical Makati, SFTS and CPG are making their belief in and commitment to accessible mental healthcare loud and clear.