LOOK: This New Website by BYS Philippines Supports Mental Health
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LOOK: This New Website by BYS Philippines Supports Mental Health

LOOK: This New Website by BYS Philippines Supports Mental Health

Special Features | October 25, 2021
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This Mental Health Awareness month, BYS Philippines debuts its very own mental health support website, Break Your Stigma.

Let’s face it—the ongoing pandemic has done a number on our mental health. From having to face long, long days on quarantine to mourning the loss of loved ones and friends, worrying about our finances, or simply the uncertainty of it all, we are definitely not okay.

But you know what? That’s okay.

“It’s okay not to be okay” is a phrase that many struggle to accept and understand. A phrase that not many can freely say because of the ongoing stigma in the Philippines. Sadly, our culture makes mental health seem like it isn’t important. “It’s all in your head,” as some would even say.

And it’s true, to some extent. It’s truly happening in our heads. But the state of our mental health is important—not something you can easily brush aside. Yes, our mental health takes center stage, just like our physical health.

Mental Health in Recent Years

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness in addressing, supporting, and treating our mental health. But even so, many find it hard to reach our for help because of the prevalent shame, or what we know as hiya that many of us face. Defined by L.P. Alampay (2014) as a form of familial shame, hiya is all about behaving with propriety and dignity, lest you bring shame to yourself and your family.

Thing is, this lack of understanding, prejudice and discrimination does more harm than good. And with these barriers—plus the need to keep up appearances—many cannot get the support and treatment they deserve. Thus, they suffer in silence—even more so during the pandemic.

For these reasons and more, BYS Philippines stepped up its efforts in mental health awareness. A staunch supporter of mental health in the Philippines, the brand has always been active through donations and campaigns. But to celebrate its ninth anniversary here in the country, BYS cemented its commitment to mental health by debuting a website that supports this cause.

Break Your Stigma

BYS, for those who don’t know, stands for Be Yourself,” shares Angie Goyena, President of iFace, Inc. “But it’s really hard to Be Yourself if and when you don’t love yourself, or when your current self is going through something extremely difficult.”

“It’s hard if you can’t break the stigma of acknowledging your internal pain and seeking help, and most importantly judging ourselves and others for not having a perfect mental health state,” she continues.

Thus, Break Your Stigma was born. A website that aims to challenge the negative perceptions towards mental health disorders, it addresses this through a more positive approach: with education and empathy. The goal is, after all, for everyone to learn new ways to be kinder to ourselves and to one another.

“We should normalize talking about mental health the way we talk about skincare. It’s okay for your skin and your mental health to not be perfect. And to seek help for both. It’s as perfectly acceptable to have a psychiatrist as it is to have a dermatologist. If you don’t feel guilty when your skin or makeup isn’t flawless, you shouldn’t feel guilty when your mental health isn’t either,” Angie explains.

Supporting and Seeking Professional Help

By bringing together the Mindfulness, Love, and Compassion Institute for Psychosocial Services Inc.—led by Dr. Honey Carandang—licensed psychologist Gisa Paredes of Healing Minds, and the creative team of Where To Next, Break Your Stigma allows users to navigate mental health responsibly, while providing concrete and relevant support to those who need it.

To do so, this digital platform is dedicated to connecting Filipinos to mental health professionals, as well as other resources that can help them heal in these trying times. While BYS Philippines asserts that Break Your Stigma is an advocacy platform and not an accredited medical organization, the site remains as a safe space for sharing information and for seeking immediate help.

The path to healing looks different for everyone, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Showing up today is already a huge step,” Angie shares. “Together, we can work to break the stigma surrounding the issues many of us face. We don’t know whose life we can save simply by sharing the website with others.”

It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to make mistakes. But most importantly, it is okay to be kind, not just to others, but yourself. In these uncertain times, it is okay not to feel your best, but there will also be brighter days ahead.

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Visit www.breakyourstigma.com to learn more about BYS Philippines’ mental health advocacy. You may also visit their social media sites for the latest news and updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok.

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