“Breaking Barriers 2021: Conversations on Mental Health”

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 November 2021 16:14)


This October, Manila Downtown YMCA launched an adventure-themed mental health campaign called “Breaking Barriers 2021: Conversations on Mental Health”. This month-long event aimed to educate and empower the youth leaders through a series of talks, discourse and training on Mental Health. It focused on highlighting the importance of taking care of oneself by strengthening one’s body, mind, and spirit, and also caring for the mental health of others and the community in alignment with our goal as a YMCA.

Over Zoom and Facebook Live, participants first underwent the talks on taking care of one’s body, mind, and spirit through the first three-week long event - Rejuvenate (Body, October 2), Ruminate (Spirit, October 9), and Relevate (Mind, October 16). Rejuvenate was led by Ms. Chantal Umali, an expert in yoga, who taught the participants body positivity and being able to balance our virtual lifestyle with a peaceful yoga activity. Ruminate, through Ms. Avegale Acosta, explored the concept of mindfulness and being present in the moment through meditation. Relevate had two speakers, Mr. Joel Navarez and Ms. Tiffany Tia, who spoke about taking care of the mind through various forms of journaling, which is an avenue to help clear our minds by expressing our emotions and thoughts.

As a culminating activity, October 23 and 30’s event was entitled Recalibrate, an interactive two-day event that was attended by a total of 133 participants, which focused on mental health in the virtual space for self, others, and community. The October 23 event had two esteemed speakers - Ms. Dana Ledesma and Dr. Ron Resurreccion, who discussed taking care of our own mental health, managing our energies well, and how important it is to prioritize ourselves before attending to others. They also tackled how to be effective support systems for others and how to assign a balance between mental health of the self and of others. The October 30 event, on the other hand, focused on the community and training aspect of mental health, through speakers like Dr. Ronald del Castillo, Mr. Frednick Asistio and Ms. Rei Marcelo. Their talks focused on the context of mental health in the Philippines, its barriers and misconceptions, and the proper avenues on how to address mental health with ourselves and others.

With the continuous support of the APAY and the local YMCAs, the conversation on mental health is just the beginning. We hope to continue discourses surrounding mental health through various platforms, albeit digital or face-to-face, as we want to continue breaking the stigmas one conversation at a time.


Venus May G. Alinsod
Executive Director
Hero Ong Go
Youth Club Alumni Association President
Richard Tee
MHI Project 
Youth Club Alumni Association
Charles Vincent Choa
Head MHI Project Head
Youth Club President