The Purpose to Keep Going

This is just one of the #NotesofHope featured on the Facebook page of Keep Going ; Baguio. Every week, the page features inspiring messages from various individuals who joined the writing prompt.

Keep Going Baguio is a non-stock, non-profit organization in the making. It is composed of diverse mental health advocates including patients, care-givers or carers, psychologists, and other medical health professionals. Aside from raising mental health awareness through various events, programs and campaigns, they envision a Baguio that actively supports people on their journey to positive mental health so they may thrive, contribute to society and live a life that they value. Their mission aims to promote the rights and best interests of people living with mental illnesses through mental health campaigns, programs, and services that are timely, appropriate, and accessible.

The core values and beliefs are: Mental health is fundamental in achieving a healthy, productive, and meaningful life. Therefore, with proper treatment and support, people with mental illnesses can recover and lead fulfilling lives. All people, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, economic status, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation, should have access to high quality, community-based, culturally sensitive, and integrated mental health services. Acquiring and retaining meaningful work in a supportive and compassionate environment may aid in one’s recovery from mental illness and must be actively engaged in influencing policy decisions relating to mental health issues at the local and national levels. To eradicate stigma, community understanding of mental illness and broad-based citizen participation must be promoted, and to fulfill objectives most effectively through collaboration must be set in mind. There is strength in unity and diversity.

The team acts as a support group prior to the pandemic. In October 2019, co-conveners Freneil “Aki” I. Reyes, Lorraine “Loffy” B. Bermejo, and Leslie T. Dulfo initiated a gathering for mental health and a run for mental health to fund its activities for the upcoming non-government organization. They collaborated with various government and non-government sectors as well as private entities to reach their aims.

To this moment, they are now joined by psychologists Myra Gahid and Shinx Hombrebueno as well as entertainer and host Nathan Santos. With the new volunteers who are known as mental health advocates, the Virtual Meet-Up (VMU’s) or online support platform via zoom was initiated and came to full fruition. The online support platform became a Sunday weekly event where a sharing-based learning is adapted and kept private to the participants.

Joined in by more volunteers, they showcased online the visibility of creative expressions. Creatives like singers, poets, writers, comedians, and other performers or artists were welcomed to share their innate skills and talents through saLOOBin and paglaLAYAg which were in the form of an open mic event. A third online open mic is set for August this year.

Passion projects include the selling of various KeepGoingBaguio merchandise of which a commissioned shirt design by artist and mental health advocate Daniel Lorenzana will be made and the creation of a handbook on mental health from various advocates for fellow advocates are in the works. The group also extends its various open and free platforms for anyone who needs its most. Their thoughts in reaching more people to help goes a long way through the published weekly Podcasts found in different podcast stations – Spotify, Anchor.fm, Google Podcasts, etc. However, these platforms do not come for free on the team’s part and these volunteers cover for necessary expenses. For their continuation, they aim for the support of those individuals who have enough to whole-heartedly give their time, money, or efforts towards the cause.

If you want to be a volunteer as a content creator – audio or video as well as Photoshop editor, please contact them through Keep Going ; Baguio Facebook page, or through a feedback form via keepgoingbaguio.com. If you have some concerns and a few to spare, we are a team of grateful people. However, we reiterate that we do not offer medical help but rather we can refer you to the health professionals on board our team and in collaboration with other mental health professionals group. Our activities, although they are peer-to-peer cannot be a substitute for professional counseling.

 “You are strong! You are not alone! Reach out when you need it most! You matter, always! Keep going and keep going together!”

Leslie Dulfo, co-convener of Keep Going Baguio

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