DOH provides psychological first aid to Taal evacuees

By Patricia Bermudez

CALAMBA CITY –Aside from providing immediate medical assistance, the Department of Health Region IV-A (DOH IV-A) also gave psychological first aid to a total of 131 individuals in various evacuation centers to help them cope with their situation following the Taal volcano unrest. 

According to DOH IV-A, providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) aims to provide a stable environment to survivors of disasters, through the help of mental health professionals. 

“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 situation,” DOH IV-A Regional Director, Eduardo Janairo said. 

The regional health office deployed five mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) teams led by Regional Mental Health Outcome Manager, Paulina Calo, to support the 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,” Calo said. 

[This includes individuals with very serious emotional reactions such as disorientation, and those who are unable to take care of themselves and their families.]

On top of counselling, the regional health office also distributed art activity kits to a total of 287 children aged 7 to 12 years old who are currently staying in evacuation centers. 

Janairo emphasized the importance of giving special attention to children in evacuation centers by providing meaningful activities, such as art activities, where they can express themselves and create social interactions with their parents and peers. Philippine Information Agency

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