Frontliner Story #23: Dr. Ron Reyes Resurreccion

The Tranquility of Mind and Soul Amid COVID-19

By Janelle Boquida and Kristian Rivera

Edited by Dana Eunise Cruz and Coleen Danielle Natividad

Frontliner sourcing by Lara Galang

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, we were forced to feel like outliers to our friends and family. The pandemic had taught everyone around the world to become strong and to activate resilience in humankind. The world was in chaos because of the pandemic.

We are still isolated in our homes and we are still given the restrictions of going out and interacting with people.

Mental health issues have doubled and rose when the COVID-19 took over the globe. The common thought that every mental health worker has is on how we can help ourselves in gaining tranquility and serene mind while fighting the pandemic.

Poster by Aimary Rubio

Dr. Ron Reyes Resurreccion is a psychologist by profession and currently the Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at De La Salle University. He was the former president of the Psychological Association of the Philippines.

He stated his expert opinion that the next pandemic can result in stress, anxiety, and depression. From the month of May, a lot of Filipinos are currently struggling because some businesses and companies had filed bankruptcy that led to the loss of jobs that caused hunger, shortage of daily budget for necessities, and more.

According to Dr. Resurreccion, these three are related to each other such as major depression disorder, anxiety, and uncertainty of the future.

“Ang hirap ngayon magkaroon ng anxiety.” (‘It’s hard to have anxiety nowadays.’), according to Dr. Resurreccion. “The future is hard to predict. You don’t know if people have grand plans. Ang daming nasira and na-delay because of financial problems and uncertainty of the future. Ang daming nagbago sa lifestyle ng tao. Ang daming mga bata na di makalabas because of the pandemic.” (‘The future is hard to predict. You don’t know if people have grand plans. Many things did not happen because of financial problems and uncertainty of the future. Many changes have happened because of the lifestyle of people. Many kids cannot go out because of the pandemic.’)

“Iba pa rin yung interaction physically. May critical period minsan of development o naapektuhan ang cognitive development.” (‘Physical interaction is still different. There is still a critical period for development, or a time where cognitive development is affected.’)

As a mental health worker, there are also misconceptions Dr. Resurreccion singled out: “A mental health professional should also be tougher than the general population.”

“Minsan yung tinuturo namin sa clients namin hindi namin na-aapply.” (‘Sometimes, we cannot apply what we teach our clients.’) “In our profession, we need empathy. We try to be in our patient’s shoes. Sometimes, we also consult our co-psychologists.”, according to Dr. Resurreccion.

The pandemic had taught us more about “self-love”. We seek to give ourselves fulfillment, clarity, and joy. Numerous webinars and consultations had diffused on the internet which helps the Filipinos to boost their knowledge on how necessary to understand the power of mental health advice and how to approach people with mental health issues.

It has been almost seven months of home quarantine while fighting the COVID-19 in the Philippines. A lot of people still have not adjusted to the new normal. The additional roles and responsibilities of individuals had doubled.

On the other hand, there are a lot of things that we should be thankful for even if the situation is not ideal. Dr. Ron stated, “Everyone can be a frontliner. Helping everyone can be a way to be a frontliner to anyone. A lot of people are struggling, and this is an act of frontlining.”

Mental health issues are one of the main problems of the COVID-19 pandemic. The person who suffers from mental health issues may look normal physically but not mentally.

Let us be kind to one another, let’s make everyone who surrounds us feel the power of positivity in life.

Normalize prioritizing self-love. We need to give ourselves the joy, clarity, and fulfillment to find our purpose in life. To our hardworking mental health professionals, mabuhay at maraming salamat sa inyo!

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