PH's first mental health care app to be available on Oct. 27

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 22) — The country is set to launch its first-ever mental health and self-care mobile app, in the hopes of giving Filipinos a "chance and choice to seek help."

"Lusog-Isip," which was developed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to provide self-help tools for users.

DOH Chief Health Program Officer Frances Prescilla Cuevas said the app's features and interventions were especially "contextualized according to the needs of Filipinos."

"It's going to help you come out with your current mental health status, and it will tell you kung anong next na pwede mong gawin (what you can do)," Cuevas told CNN Philippines on Friday. "So, it's basically a self-care app, [....] not a diagnostic tool."

The USAID earlier said the platform was developed "in response to the growing need for mental healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic."

"We hope that Lusog-Isip will provide access to self-help materials for improving clients' mental health and address substance use," it added.

The app will be accessible to the public starting Oct. 27. It can be downloaded for free on Android and iOS devices through the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The USAID said the app will first screen individuals to get a sense of their overall well-being and how they cope with stress. It will then suggest self-help tools, including workbooks, exercises, audio guides, journals, and even self-care reminders.

The app will also provide a list of online or nearby mental health and psychosocial support service providers, the USAID added.

Aside from these, the DOH said it was working with local governments to ramp up mental health services across the country. Medications for common conditions will also be made available for free in various access sites.

Meanwhile, individuals who need to be admitted to hospitals can avail of certain patient packages. They will be provided assistance through PhilHealth reimbursements.

Cuevas reassured users that their personal information will be kept confidential.

"We won't even know the identity of those logging in to the app, so there's data privacy in that regard," she said partly in Filipino.

"It's just [about] giving the Filipinos a chance... a choice where they [could] ask for help," Cuevas added.