Oliver Bugarin 5 0 0 4 min to read

Army conducts first-ever training on gender violence and mental health.

The Philippine Army (PA) held its first-ever training sessions on gender-based violence response and mental health first aid.

Col. Xerxes Trinidad, a spokesman for the PA, stated in a statement on Wednesday that approximately 200 Army gender and development (GAD) officers, personnel, and civilian employees participated in the activity from Monday through Tuesday at the Philippine Army Officers Clubhouse in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, both on-site and via video teleconference.

The two-day course is designed to equip GAD teams with the skills necessary to successfully address gender-based violence by offering victims mental health first aid, Trinidad continued.

Major Christine de Jesus, head of the neuropsychiatry and mental health division at Army General Hospital (AGH), talked about mental illnesses. At the same time, psychologist Marilyn Payumo advised on how to deal with them.

Both psychologist Janette Martinez-Hapita and military psychiatrist Capt. Venus A. Agnabo acted as resource people for the activities.

The speakers strongly emphasized the value of stress relief and psychospiritual counseling in protecting soldiers’ mental health.

“We must repeatedly submerge ourselves in the torrent of another’s associations and emotions if we are to glimpse into his mind. In his speech, PA Chief Surgeon Col. Joel Enrico N. Anastacio quoted American psychiatrist Dr. John Nemiah saying, “We must be the instrument that scans him or her.

Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., the head of the PA, previously stated that he has made it a priority to ensure the safety of the soldiers he is in charge of ever since he joined the military in 1989, shortly after earning his degree from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

“I saw that shortly after the Marawi Siege, participating troops went home without the benefit of a proper mental and psychological debriefing. There were some, but it wasn’t enough. Not everybody will do that,” the author said. “It happened during the Marawi Siege (in 2017), when biglang nag-uwian yun mga sundalo natin without the benefit of a proper mental, psychological debriefing. There were some, but it wasn’t

He continued by saying that while serving as the PMA’s commander of cadets, he prioritized mental health.

He did this after discovering that several cadets had suicidal tendencies at the time.

No matter how good you are, no matter how knowledgeable and skilled you are, there are moments when you get too much impacted by personal concerns, Brawner said. “I will continue with that advocacy here in the Philippine Army,” he said.

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