PLDT, Smart’s mental health storytelling series draws record viewers

Inspiring hope in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, PLDT and Smart, through its collaborative platform Better Today, recently culminated its month-long mental health series with a record-breaking over 121,000 viewers. This is more than twice the number of viewers of last October’s Better Today Conversations, a virtual storytelling series on mental wellness. 

Called the ‘Time Capsule Project, the initiative created positive conversations on mental health and wellness, as changemakers and advocacy leaders shared their stories of passion and purpose, resilience, empathy and hope.

PLDT and Smart FVP and Group Corporate Communications Head Cathy Yap-Yang shares the Time Capsule Project’s vision of empowering Filipinos to tell their stories of hope and empathy.

“We hope that this journey of self-reflection, creative expressions, of taking a deep dive into our mental health — has inspired each one of you to find a safe space and recognize that you are not alone,” said PLDT and Smart FVP and Group Corporate Communications Head Cathy Yap-Yang.

“Our Time Capsule Project tells the stories of our world today for ourselves tomorrow. We open doors to possibilities and limitless potential. In our safe space, we are trying to keep afloat amid the darkest times. We are reminded that we have a community that reinforces support and strives to create a culture of empathy and kindness,” Yap-Yang added.

Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) President Cecilia Garrucho shared an inspiring message of hope to the youth through the Gold Mine Theory. According to Garrucho, everyone comes into this world with a gift. Just like a gold mine, discovering and nurturing our own unique gift may not come easy. It can be a lifelong process that takes time, patience, and courage.

Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) President Cecilia Garrucho shares the valuable lesson of being kind to oneself and taking one’s time to find their own unique gift through the Gold Mine Theory.

“As sure as the sun rises in the morning, your gift is there. Be patient. Be kind with yourself. Give yourself time. Especially now with the pandemic, we need to be kind to ourselves and to others as well,” Garrucho said.

The month-long mental health campaign drew at least 121,000 views — a record number, and featured various storytellers, including Serge Gabriel and Jihad Mambuhay from Words Anonymous on how to speak one’s truth and tell one’s story through writing.

Visual artists and mental health advocates Anselmo Pagulayan and Denden Parreño shared how art becomes a form of mental healthcare. Meanwhile, artist and mother Gold Villar-Lim and her daughter Cara talked about mental health within the family and how empathy and constant communication play an important role in understanding each other.

Mental health professionals Dr. Jasmine Vergara from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Kathryn Tan from the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) provided clinical perspectives on mental health and wellness. These include important reminders about focusing on one’s circles of control while letting go and forgiving oneself for the things that are outside of one’s control.

Mental health advocacy groups such as Kapehan Sesh, Wellness Cluster PH and Project Bohol: Mental Health Awareness also imparted valuable lessons of affirmations and validation of one’s feelings. These include showing resilience and strength by moving forward and carrying on amid life’s challenges.

Roy Dahildahil of #MentalHealthPH, one of the country’s largest mental health advocacy groups, talked about the importance of reaching out to another person, especially amid the pandemic. A simple ‘how are you?’ will go a long way in comforting someone who is going through a tough time, especially those in isolation.

Better Today is PLDT and Smart’s collaborative platform for changemaking in the digital space. The program emphasizes the companies’ commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly UN SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being.

To know more about Better Today and its advocacy to educate and empower Filipinos towards digital well-being, family and child online safety, and youth empowerment and changemaking, please follow Better Today PH at (@bettertodayph) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.