5 Highlights of the 5th iCare Mental Health Expo
There is no health when there is no mental health.
The fifth iCare Mental Health Expo was held at the Ayala Malls Central Bloc, Cebu IT Park, on November 8, 2022, from 10 AM to 8 PM, with the theme; Making Mental Health and Well-being for All a Global Priority.
Ms. Scarlett Jade Mapa hosted the program, and it started with the opening remarks of Gestalt Wellness Institute’s resident psychologist Ms. Rennyvone Ledesma. Miss Ledesma welcomed the participants and introduced them to the aspirations of iCare and its connotation; C for connect, A for awareness, R for respond, and E for embrace.
1.) The iCare Mental Health Talk Show
Professional guest speakers, Mr. Philipp Chen Tan, a psychologist; Dr. Joseph James Lim, a psychiatrist; and Ms. Luzlin Pagaran Elcullada, a guidance counselor, talked about listening and showing care for others without compromising one’s mental health. They also discussed how to address mental health concerns in the community, classrooms, and barangay. They emphasized that for mental health to become a global priority and dissolve the stigma, authorities, advocates, and experts should make it more accessible to the public with the help of sufficient funds.
2.) Open Forum
After the Mental Health Talk Show was the open forum, wherein participants were given the time to ask the guest speakers relevant questions. Questions like, “How do you relate to something you haven’t experienced?” to which Mr. Lim responded, “You do not have to experience to understand.”, and “You can ask more.”
Asking questions shows care, but when you feel like it is out of your expertise, ask for help from the professionals. Although self-care is mainly about knowing your boundaries and learning when to say no, it differs from person to person. It’s okay to be there for someone but not at the expense of your mental health. Thus, another way to show care for someone else is to refer them to professionals.
3.) Trivia Time.
Mr. Kirk Patrick Castro, the founder of iCARE Mental Health Expo and the Director of Gestalt Wellness Institute Inc., discussed the importance of giving care. Mr. Castro emphasized, “The most important person you have to satisfy in life is yourself.” And that, “If you know how to take care of yourself, then you know how to take care of others.”
He also discussed mental illnesses’ “warning signs” and how important awareness is. Unmanaged stress often results in anxiety, which is a gateway to depression. “Define boundaries. Recognize triggers of anxiety and know how to calm yourself,” he added.
4.) Games and activities
To create a supportive community, Mr. Abrea Segundo Jr. organized games, challenges, and activities for the participants. The participants come from different universities; thus, the activities were designed for them to introduce each other and build connections. This is considered a step toward building a community that is caring and supportive of each other.
The participants were also given the time to inquire and talk to the exhibitors to know what the organization is all about. There were a total of six booths; the Gestalt Wellness Institute, Family and Recovery Management, Tawag Paglaum Centro Bisaya, PsychHelp Assessments and Psychological Center Co. – Cebu, Visayan Youth Matters, and 180 Degrees Inc.
5. Fellowship with Sugbuanon artists
Lastly, there was the fellowship with local Sugbuanon artists, which falls under the aspirations of iCARE; to give and build care. Inviting local artists to the expo shows support and care for growing artists. To a certain extent, the artists get to perform on stage and share their passion.
Pursuing iCare Mental Health Expo every year is a step towards building and sustaining a supportive community for everyone’s mental health. Hats off to mental health professionals and advocates who dedicated time and effort into this purpose. It costs nothing to be kind; but it can save lives.