Medical Perspectives | Others

May 11, 2021

Stories of depression and news on mental health conditions have been on the front pages or the top of social media feeds in recent times. Mental health illnesses rank number three among the most common form of morbidity, according to National Statistics Office1 Department of Health states that 3.3 million Filipinos suffer from depressive disorders.2


With the openness about mental health illnesses in the present day, many have come forward to share their own experiences as well as to provide clarity and truth to the conditions accompanying depression. This in turn has led to significant strides in providing the modalities and means to help address the conditions, including the signing of the Mental Health Law in June 2018.


On a more immediate note, let's tackle what can be done as first aid for mental health conditions, particularly depression. How does one provide help for someone experiencing a depressive crisis?


Depression, a state of persistent low mood, manifests in many ways, including such symptoms as feelings of worthlessness, loss of interest in daily life, irritability, feeling anxious and worried, or even having suicidal thoughts.3


Here are some of the first aid measures to help someone suffering from depression.4

  • Talking can make a difference.
  • Make time to talk without interruptions.
  • Find a quiet place where there will be no disturbance and where the person will feel comfortable.
  • Avoid making assumptions or offering advice.
  • Listen first and listen well. Let the person speak, try to say as little as possible.
  • Use open questions that lead the person to open up and express their feelings.
  • Encourage the person to seek help through counselling or therapy.


A mental health first aid kit as envisioned by Beth Rogerson5 would contain the following "tools":

  • Breathe, to relax, to clear your mind, to stimulate the body.
  • Keep a mood diary.
  • Social contact and interaction with people who give you energy helps to reduce feelings of aloneness and loneliness
  • Exercise or moving your body to decrease lethargy and melancholy
  • Food, eat on time and keep blood sugar stable to combat mood swings
  • Get your share of sunlight for mood boosting and better Vitamin D levels
  • Sleep to improve your mood, get 8 hours sleep every night.
  • Get in touch with your state of mind, through self-awareness exercises and therapy.

[1] Magtubo, C. [2016, September]. Mental Health in the Philippines: By the numbers. Retrieved from


[2] [2019, January]. DOH: It's time to talk about, address depression. Retrieved from


[3] Furst, J. [2016, January]. First aid for depression. Retrieved from


[4] Furst, J. [2016, January]. First aid for depression. Retrieved from


[5] Rogerson, B. [2015, September]. A First Aid Kit for Depression and Anxiety. Retrieved from


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