Believe it or not, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Special Initiative for Mental Health, in the early part of 2020, at least 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from one kind of mental, neurological, and substance use disorder.
Despite this alarming number, there’s only 0.41 psychiatrists per 100,000 Filipinos. And on top of this, there’s still the stigma about mental health.
WHO defines this stigma as “a mark of shame, disgrace, or disapproval, which results in an individual being rejected, discriminated against, and excluded from participating in a number of different areas of society.”
We see this translated in the Filipino value of hiya. L.P. Alampay (2014) explains hiya as familial shame, wherein the expectation is to behave with propriety and dignity with respect to the self and the family.
The birth of breakyourstigma.com
And to help Filipinos take good care of their mental health, on its ninth anniversary, cosmetic brand BYS has launched breakyourstigma.com. It’s a digital platform dedicated to helping Filipinos gain access to the directory of mental health professionals.
After this successful launch, Angie Goyena, president of iFace, Inc., tells MB Life that they will forge partnerships with doctors and other organizations to help lessen the financial burden for the patients.
“The vision we have for the website is not only to give access to people to the directory but also we will be negotiating and talking to the doctors, if they can help the patients by giving discounts, better fees,” she says. “And for our next step, we will also be coming up with a fund, where we can sponsor patients who cannot afford help.”
Aside from the directory, the website also features a gathering section where the organizers will hold different workshops and events, as well as the stories, a collection of diverse perspectives of what it means to be human.