PLDT, Smart strengthen employees’ mental health and wellness amid pandemic

In the middle of a pandemic, emotions remain high. Sometimes, it’s all over the place. But mostly, it demands to be felt. Providing mental health support to its employees, PLDT and Smart launched its Mind Your Health program last year, which is a series of online talks that invite clinical experts and mental health advocates to talk about various mental health issues that range from dealing with mental illnesses and mental health advocacy campaigns.

To date, the Mind Your Health series has produced 15 episodes with a total of over 7,000 views.

“At PLDT and Smart, one of the values we live by is ‘taking care of our people.’ On top of offering vital medical services to employees including COVID-19 vaccines among others, we also want to alleviate their anxieties during this difficult time by providing them with mental wellness webinars as well as access to free professional counseling. These are all essential as self-care contributes to one’s overall health and wellbeing,” said PLDT Group Chief People Officer Gina Ordoñez.

One of its recent episodes include ‘Managing Your Emotions’, which was a talk conducted by Riyan Portuguez or more popularly known as ‘Your Millennial Psychologist’. With over 200,000 following on social media, Portuguez is a longtime co-champion of PLDT and Smart when it comes to advocating for mental health.

“Part of mental health is emotional well-being. One way to manage your emotion is to recognize what you feel,” Portuguez said.

According to Portuguez, taking care of one’s mental health is a form of self-love – whether it is through setting boundaries or doing self-care. Portuguez reminds everyone that it is important to label one’s emotions, so that one can have a power over these feelings. It is only in recognizing and understanding our feelings and emotions that one can move forward. 

Portuguez also shared how it is essential to be responsible with one’s feelings through emotion regulation. She underscored the importance of knowing the details of our feelings and emotions – where they’re coming from, the things or situations that may have triggered it and finding the root or context of our emotions.

Just like the muscles in our body, mental and emotional resilience are something that we exercise and develop. Portuguez shared how there are no bad emotions but there are ways to regulate them by finding the proper outlet to release them – whether it is through writing, journaling, or different ways of coping.

One of the key things to remember when it comes to managing emotions is to create a deep understanding on how much healing it takes to transform ourselves to be better. Healing, just like many other things in life, takes time. Even more so, it is important to know that healing isn’t linear.

Aside from its talks series, PLDT and Smart also have online courses to help employees manage their mental well-being. Some of the online courses include topics on de-stressing, meditation and movement, stress management; workplace positivity; and resilience amid unexpected change.

To provide employees with access to mental health services, PLDT and Smart also partnered with professional counselors. Employees can book appointments online and seek treatment and counseling.

PLDT and Smart’s Mind Your Health series reinforces the companies’ commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly UN SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being.

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