Camillian Father Dan Cancino, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Health Care, has urged a reevaluation of priorities, emphasizing the importance of spirituality, particularly among the youth, in response to the nation’s ongoing mental health challenges.
Father Cancino voiced his concern, noting that anxiety and depression have become widespread among young people, which he attributed primarily to the effects of technology. While technology has become an integral part of our lives, it can also hinder meaningful relationships, particularly within families.
” Nagkukulang tayo ng personal na ugnayan sa isa’t isa. Epekto rin ito ng komunikasyon. Ang ating komunikasyon ay nadadaan na lang sa mga mobile or online applications. May advantage talaga ‘yung mga apps ngunit nawawala ‘yung koneksyon bilang tao—tao sa tao, puso sa puso. Kaya tuloy marami sa ating mga kabataan o kapanalig ang nagkakaroon ng anxiety o depression,” Fr. Cancino told Radio Veritas.
The priest emphasized that many individuals are neglecting their spiritual lives in favor of physical enhancements. He stressed the significance of strengthening one’s faith in the Lord as a guide to comprehending God’s designs and the value of life.
“Pinakamahalaga ay ‘yung espiritwal na buhay natin. Nafo-form natin ‘yung katawan, ang dami nating mga gym at vitamins pero paano natin alagaan ‘yung ating spiritual life? Hindi nalalayo ang mental health doon sa nurturing of faith—pagpapalalim ng ating buhay pananampalataya,” the priest said.
Fr. Cancino also discussed the Church’s role in reducing and reshaping the habits that influence how individuals cope with anxiety and excessive sorrow. The Church’s health commission is advocating mental health training in every diocese and parish. Through these efforts, Fr. Cancino said that those in need can find someone to speak to, someone to share their journey through the darkness and rediscover the light of hope that the Lord has provided.
“Sa pakikipag-usap ay madi-diskubre nila ang kagandahan ng ugnayan sa Diyos, buhay pananampalataya, pagdarasal, interpersonal relationship, at pagkakaroon ng kaibigang personal hindi lang virtual friend. Hindi ka namin pababayaan, meron kang kasama sa paglalakbay,” he said.
Father Cancino recommended that individuals experiencing mental health crises may get in touch with the National Centre for Mental Health at 1553 for landline users, 0917-899-8726 and 0966-351-4518 for Globe and TM subscribers, and 0908-639-2672 for Smart, Sun, and TNT subscribers.
In his message, Fr. Cancino reminded the faithful of the importance of spirituality and personal connections in addressing the mental health challenges faced by adolescents and the general population. Recognizing that a holistic approach to promoting mental health is essential, the Church seeks to provide both spiritual guidance and practical assistance to those in need. (Luis Angelo Sta. Maria/Volunteer Writer-San Felipe Neri Parish)