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CBCP urges bishops to look after clergy's mental health needs

September 15, 2020 - Tuesday 7:09 PM by PNA

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MANILA – An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Tuesday appealed to heads of dioceses in the country to also address the emotional and mental health needs of priests amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

"I am also calling on my brother Bishops to also support our priests especially during this pandemic,” CBCP acting president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.

The Caloocan prelate issued the appeal amid the suicide cases by clergy members in the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, and the Diocese of Antipolo. He did not disclose their identities.

David added that priests are not spared from being lonely since they are also human beings that can also experience and suffer mental health issues due to anxiety, trauma, and other causes of depression.

"Many of them are also very vulnerable; I know some of them feel depressed and very guilty because they cannot go out and they cannot attend to their pastoral duties," he said.

Earlier, Rev. Fr. Dan Cancino, executive secretary of CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Health Care said it is important for the government to prioritize mental health issues at this time.

Since the onset of the community quarantine in March due to the pandemic, the National Center for Mental Health has been receiving 300 to 400 phone calls per month from people experiencing different mental health problems.

Meanwhile, a Social Weather Stations survey revealed in July that 84 percent of Filipinos experienced stress due to the health crisis. Ferdinand Patinio