Solo Parents in Tacloban Find Solace in Community and Self-Care Amid Mental Health Challenges

TACLOBAN - In the city of Tacloban, solo parents are facing the daunting task of raising children alone, which often leads to stress and mental health issues. However, many have developed their own methods to cope with the pressures of solo parenting, ranging from active socialization to physical activities.

According to Philippines News Agency, Jocelyn Igaña, a 52-year-old single mother of two, described feeling overwhelmed and anxious due to the pressures of parenting without support. She finds relief by engaging in housework and seeking emotional support from close friends. Babing Ronda, another solo parent, focuses on his work and plays basketball to manage his stress after the death of his wife left him to raise four children on a modest income.

Desiree Dollar, managing a small community store, handles her stress privately through prayer and social activities, wary of sharing her struggles openly due to fear of judgment. Gloria Fabrigas, the city government's head of special projects, who is also a psychologist and a solo parent, emphasized the impact of financial strain, family problems, and social isolation on mental health. She noted that solo parents often feel alone in their responsibilities, highlighting the importance of mental health awareness.

Fabrigas stressed the necessity of proper coping mechanisms, advising solo parents to focus on rest, sleep, connection with others, physical activity, and diet while avoiding substances like alcohol and cigarettes. Additionally, Francis Bernadeth Lerion, a counselor with Dream Quest International, urged those experiencing early signs of mental distress to seek support from friends, family, or groups.

The city's Social Welfare and Development Office recently organized mental health awareness discussions during Solo Parents Week, providing a platform for solo parents to receive advice and encouragement to maintain their mental health.