Friday, June 07, 2019

Flourish Circle Sprouts a Growing Initiative

By Carlos Diego A. Rozul

The Global Burden of Disease study in 2015 reported an equivalent of 6.3 million cases of Filipinos diagnosed with a depressive and anxiety disorder. For years, the Philippines has advocated to integrate mental health in its healthcare policies. With the enactment of RA 11036 also known as the Philippine Mental Health Law in 2018, Filipinos now have the basic right to psychological wellness.

LoveYourself joins the movement towards responding to the mental health needs of Filipinos with Flourish Circle."There is a palpable call for help and we will respond, and respond with the very best that we have - our passionate volunteers, lessons learned from past programs, and expert partners." explained Chris Lagman, LoveYourself Senior Director.

Flourish Circle Peer Support Specialists and Proponents
Photo by Dan Guevara
Flourish Circle is an initiative started by a community of peers that aim to provide a safe and affirming space where people can feel listened to, supported, and accepted. Guided by the principles of Internal Family Systems and Mindfulness, the Flourish Circle has trained its first set of Peer Support Specialists who will heed the call for accessible psychosocial support for people undergoing depressive, anxious, and suicidal ideated states.

“I know of so many people who want to help but don’t know how. And so we came up with a community based solution because we need a platform to connect people who need help and people who want to help.” Sheila Tan said, as one of the proponents of Flourish Circle.

The Peer Support Specialists started off as people who shared the same vision as the initiative's founders. With the willingness to be trained, they underwent multiple learning and skills-building sessions, ultimately passing the program's skills and knowledge-based competencies benchmarking.

Flourish Circle Logo
Logo by Kent Tangcalagan
About the Logo

The Flourish Circle logo features a lotus flower with two open hands enclosing an ellipsis, encapsulated in a circle. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, the lotus flower is a symbol of rebirth. Its life cycle starts from the dark murky waters where a beautiful flower when the sun has risen. This parallels a person’s journey to overcome the darkness in their life and arise revitalized to continue life.

The two open hands symbolize the peer specialists offering their genuine support. The ellipsis between the hands represent that life can continue even when you’re at a loss. It also stand for people experiencing the states of mind that the Flourish aims to care for. All of these are bound in a circle that expresses a sense of community among its peer support specialists and Flourish Circle members.

Taking Steps

“No one can do it alone. We all need a space where we can be held respectfully and lovingly, where healing is accessible, possible, and where depression is something we have, but not who we are.” Bro. Noel Cabigting shared as one of the proponents of Flourish Circle.

Truly, we are not the only ones who can look out for ourselves. When we are surrounded by a community that is present, supportive, and affirming, we can grow as ourselves.

Participants of the Flourish Circle will be screened using a standardized and evidence supported self-assessment tool to determine appropriateness of the program for the needs of the participant. They must also be able to commit to 12 sessions in the course of several months, and is comfortable sharing in small groups.

We flourish by trying everyday. Today, we can reach out to someone. Join Flourish Circle, a safe space to share your story. http://bit.ly/FlourishCircle.
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Carlos Diego is an HIV counselor and the Head of Editorial for LoveYourself. Outside of volunteering, he is a clinical audiology student and a registered psychometrician. He aims to facilitate a deeper meaning to health by discussing the importance of aural, sexual, and mental health.