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Cat Triviño: Mental Health and Resilience

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Kai Magsanoc · Updated Feb 16, 2023

Cat Triviño: Mental Health and Resilience

Kai Magsanoc: Hi, everyone! Welcome to #CoffeeWithKai here on Hello Doctor PH. My name is Kai Magsanoc, I’m the editor-in-chief of Hello Doctor Philippines. 

So with me today is someone I met in 2014. I was still with Yahoo! Philippines, and she was with one of the biggest telco companies in the Philippines and she really took good care of me, in the sense that what I was working on as a lifestyle journalist, they really supported, her and her team. 

She moved on to the food industry, and then last year, through LinkedIn, I saw that she had already moved into — I’m learning more about the story today from her, and she will share more with us today — she is now with this organization that — I’m also seeing other contacts on LinkedIn say that they’re working with — with MindNation. 

So we’ll learn more about it later, but for now, let’s talk about mental health.

Cat Triviño is not a doctor, but she is a mental health advocate. She has her own story. She’s not speaking from the perspective of someone who doesn’t get it, that’s what I love about having this conversation with her today. Maybe we’ll have that clinical conversation later, but let’s talk about how you and I are affected by mental health. 

So Cat, thank you for joining us today.

Cat Triviño: Thank you so much, Kai, thank you for the introduction. Like listening to how we met, and the journey so far, it really shows how far we’ve gone. And we’ve gone through many mental health challenges that at that point, we probably didn’t recognize them as mental health challenges before or as stresses. So it’s good to have this conversation now, and thanks for giving me the stage to talk about it. 

KM: Well yeah, just seeing you now Cat, I’m so proud. I feel like a proud ate or older sister seeing how much you’ve grown as a woman. That shows what you’ve been through kasi adversity builds character. It really builds us, and that’s why our state of mental health is really important, how we understand it and how we manage it. 

So first thing’s first, I can get this from the Internet I know, but I want to hear your own definition: what is mental health?

CT: Okay. For me, mental health is our overall state of well-being. When we’re talking about mental health, I will always say that there’s no health without mental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re physically fit, if you’re not balanced within your well-being, you’re going to be having trouble in life. The overall state of well-being is that balance, it’s that flow. 

We’re humans with a wide range of emotions from happy and sad, to ecstatic and depressed, and the overall state of where they’ll be, again, is that balance. Being able to live our lives of good health and happiness, and being able to cope and deal with the normal stresses in our lives, and the workplace, and in our own communities. 

KM: Okay, got it. Understood. Thank you for that, Cat. Why and how important is mental health?

CT: Right. If you’re talking about it from the perspective of an individual, a lot of us will think that mental health is something that you really just disregard. “It’s not important, it’s your brain, I can just think about happy thoughts, I can just push it aside.” It’s not something you see physically, you’d look in the mirror and you’d see (sic). 

But there will be some cases, and studies do show that poor mental health does characterize itself in physical aspects like our inability to sleep, and also in our immunity. We become less immune to diseases, to the flu, maybe even to COVID, because of poor mental health. 

I would like to think that mental health, or developing that mental resilience, is highly needed for us to face the challenges that are set before us, because life is really filled with difficulties. Life is filled with different challenges everyday and that health is our ability to cope with it. 

When you have poor mental health, when you don’t value it, when you don’t value it enough, and you don’t find that balance and understand what holistic well-being or wellness means, you will crumble. You will have poor relationships not only with yourself, but with others, and it can lead to more serious conditions. More serious mental health concerns that will debilitate you. 

And at its worst case, it can also be a risk to your life. A lot of — suicide is one of the top 3 causes of death globally. Nobody talks about it. There’s so much talk about cancer, about cardiovascular diseases, and they’re also part of the top two, but number 3. 

You have suicide, a mental health concern, as the number 3, and nobody’s talking about it. Simply because it’s taboo? Because it’s highly stigmatized? Nobody wants to talk about personal problems. They think that it’s something small and petty, but when you realize that it’s all deeply connected with your quality of life, the ability to achieve success, the ability to interact and connect with others, and find purpose in your life, you realize that, “Oh my goodness, why am I not thinking about my mental health? Why am I not setting healthy boundaries? Why am I not making that the number one priority for me?”

KM: Okay. How bad is it, Cat? How bad is it? Especially with the pandemic. I mean we’re reading it, but from your latest data, how bad is mental health — I think I saw in passing on LinkedIn how someone posted that mental illness is also an epidemic on its own. I don’t know how true that is, so let’s look at the data. What data do you have about the state of mental health around the world and in the Philippines?

CT: Right. And mental health concerns. Like I said, the data that I told you, that suicide is the number 3 cause of morbidity, not only around the world, but also in the Philippines, that’s a true case. And that’s even before the pandemic hit. So it’s already been serious, it’s something that people need to put as a priority, even before any of these crazy things have been happening. 

But more so now, because there’s disruption with their way of life, people are caught unprepared, and if you don’t know how to cope, you’re really going to start realizing that there are things that will bother you mentally and emotionally, and it can cause many of us to crumble. It can cause many of us to debilitate from bouncing back and being better versions of ourselves.

When you think about stresses (sic), they’re all information in your head. All these emotions are information that you need to allow to flow through you, and take a step back and understand what the problem is. A lot of us were not built like that. 

A lot of us did not also live with being able to be that mentally resilient. So you’re going to be seeing a lot of people talking about how they found out, just during this pandemic, how important their mental health is. 

And the data shows that as well. The survey — it was here in the Philippines, yes, there was a survey that was conducted up until April — around April lang ‘to — na the suicide incidents rose by 25.7% in 2020 compared to the previous year. 

25.7%. And it can be because of so many things. Uncertainty, the fear, loss of lives and loved ones, loss of income, and you know this. There’s so many things to be anxious and scared of. And a lot of these people who don’t know how to cope, or don’t know how to move forward, or are just realizing that they keep brushing their mental health under the rug, they unfortunately fall into these kinds of concerns. 

And of course other factors. Like if you’re coming from a toxic home, and work or going out used to be an escape for you, used to be something that made you feel balanced. Now everybody’s in the same space, and not everyone has the luxury of their own rooms, or open spaces. A lot of times, they’re cramped, you have 20, 30 people in one small house. Those are things that heavily contribute to mental health. 

In MindNation, we also do pulse surveys. And that’s part of how we operate because we understand that mental health is something that needs to be customized and catered to the different needs of employees. 

There are organizations where they like the company culture, they like working long hours. There are organizations that don’t. There are organizations that are more honest and more trusting toward their managers, organizations that have that big gap between my boss and myself. 

And so we do these surveys to understand what the company culture is, so that we can provide the best-fit services for them. Do they need a lot of psychologist consultations? Do they need well-being coaches? Do they need training in mental health first aid? All of these things. 

Now with the survey, we’ve actually compiled that — and I’ll share the white paper with you separately — we’ve noticed a huge number of people, of employees, that are unproductive each week because of mental health concerns. 

You have 3 reasons for this “unproductivity.” Number one is because of mental health concerns, they experience presenteeism. Being present and not being actually there, you’re just lost, you’re just worried, is one cause of concern. And it costs the company also, but also absenteeism. 

Absenteeism is constantly being absent or late, and then you have talent loss when they just quit because they can’t handle it anymore. They start to realize that, “I’m not getting enough sleep, I’m not getting the kind of rest or care that I want in this organization.” 

And all of these, per 100 employees, costs organizations up to Php700,000 each year. And these are things that leaders should take note of because they now see the deep connection of mental well-being, overall well-being, to the bottomline. 

Traditionally, and we both know this, there’s a clear divide. You cannot bring personal problems to the workspace. Once you air out and share that you have mental health concerns, they think of you as a liability. And they think, “Maybe you’re not fit for the job. Emotions should be out the door.” But now, more than ever, we’re stuck at home, the lines are blurred. 

You are a mother and you can’t separate — usually when you go to work, when we have events, the mother role takes a backseat. Okay, you’re on your work hat first, or your writer hat. Now you don’t, you’re just at home, and the responsibilities of being a mother are at par, equal to the responsibilities of being a good employee, and employers can’t separate that. 

You can’t say that, “During these work hours, you’re not allowed to be a mom. You’re not allowed to put priority on what your son will have for lunch.” And that’s the same thing for a lot of people. It doesn’t have to be a parent, maybe you’re a daughter, or a caretaker, or you’re by yourself, and you’re balancing your passions. 

And like I mentioned earlier, mental health is the balance of that. You’re able to balance it, and it’s not a 50/50 all the time. The pandemic has really pushed the seriousness and how important it is to strike that balance. 

And while a lot of our experts and doctors are trying to figure out a solution to the pandemic, to COVID, we’re now, and we will continue to see, the psychological effects that this pandemic has brought to everyone. We’re going to be seeing that because there’s no vaccine for it. There’s no jab that will be like, “Oh I feel better. The whole one or two years of being isolated didn’t affect me.” That’s impossible. 

And when you’re exposed to chronic stress, when you’re close to that uncertainty the whole time, and that kind of becomes your normal? It’s hard to just forget about it and just go back to normal. So we’re dealing with it step-by-step. 

Kids are really one of the hardest hit here. They’re still at the developing stages, they’re still trying to understand how the world works and they’re also hit with this curveball. It’s most definitely going to affect everyone mentally, and it’s important that we are able to build those healthy boundaries and understand how we can proactively reach for that thriving or flourishing state of mental health during this time.

KM: Right. Somehow, that makes me — in a way I feel glad for those of us who are able to come out and acknowledge and say, “Hey, you know what, I’m managing this disorder. At least I know how to ask for help, when to ask for help, and who.” But it makes me worry about those who have been in denial, or they’ve been prevented by their immediate environment like their families from talking about because, “Sa pamilya na’tin, walang ganyan.” And those who really care more about image rather than what’s really happening at the very core of a being. Right? 

For everyone who’s watching, here’s Cat Triviño of MindNation. We will learn more about that later, find them on Facebook, Google them, and reach out to them right now. Okay. 

So Cat, thank you for sharing those statistics about mental health in the workplace. So my question is, is it a disability? If I have a mental health disorder or illness, can I ask for a PWD ID? Am I considered a PWD? 

And I guess on the part of employers, if someone comes out with that, should you appreciate it or should you judge it? We know the obvious answer, but please articulate it from the research and all the work you’ve done. 

CT: Right. Thanks for asking that, and just to reiterate, I’m not a doctor. If you feel that you do have mental health concerns, it’s best to seek the advice of a psychologist or a psychiatrist to properly diagnose you. And they will be able to give you advice if you need a PWD (ID), can you get one. 

But according to the law naman, persons with disabilities — basta long term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments — all of those are valid for PWD cards. 

It really differs, kasi there are people with seasonal depression, where they only feel it for a certain number of months, or for example, they only feel it during Christmas, it’s up to the expert to tell you that you do need a PWD card. 

For example, I’ve not personally availed of it, but I know that the process is fairly easy, and I’ve always felt that to some extent parang it’s not that serious, but I’ve started to — for those that don’t know, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression in 2018 and it’s really debilitated my life in that way. 

And to some extent, because of the therapy, and because of the medications, I’m learning to better cope with it. But that’s the thing. Part of the medication is that it makes me sleepy, it doesn’t really put me in a focused mindset a lot of times because of the side effects. That will be harmful if I drive, if I do daily tasks. Those are some of the ways a PWD card can help you. You’re able to access the easier access points, etc. 

But again, I have yet to claim my own. As soon as I do that, maybe we can do another talk about how to do that. But again, please always seek the help and advice of the experts. 

KM: Right. Okay. So Cat, is it something to be ashamed of? I know that it’s not the patient, it’s the people around the patient who are ashamed. Right? So if I was the person with the disorder, does that mean I’m a bad person? Is there something wrong with me just because I have it? I’m gonna ask the questions I know others feel but they cannot articulate.

CT: Honestly that’s the first thing I asked the psychologist when he started giving me medication. I was crying, and I said, “Am I broken? And can I fix it?” 

And she said, “Honestly, to some extent, it depends on you. It depends if you’re really able to set those healthy habits because you have the depression, you have the illness. It’s good that you’re aware, but the next step, and possibly the hardest is being able to cope with it. Because that’s there, and now you have to know and be aware of things that are triggering you, be honest with yourself about your feelings, know when you need to take a step back.” 

And like you said kanina, those that are feeling this way, they’re more aware with what’s happening, more in tune with their feelings than people who are “normal” who set it aside. Everyone has mental health, and I wouldn’t say that there’s somebody who’s absolutely immune to the stresses and happy-go-lucky lang

To some extent of course, if you’re exposed to chronic stress, and you don’t know how to be resilient, you’re really going to be at risk with mental health concerns. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

When you start feeling this way, the stigma is baliw ka, you can’t function, you’re not in the right mindset, and it differs. I need everybody to understand that it’s a spectrum of mental health concerns. And to an extent, if you’re able to recognize, understand what your triggers are, and set those healthy boundaries, you can actually function so much better than “normal” people. 

Because you have respect for yourself, because you know what your limits are, and everybody has limits. And that’s something that personally I am proud of. I love and I’m really proud that I’m in tune with my feelings and I can take a step back when I need to and I don’t push it. 

And when I share with others, you’ll never know who else is hiding it. You’ll never know because two out of 5 people suffer mental health concerns. That’s a big number. If you add 3 more people here, that’s two of us already that have mental health concerns. You’ll never know who else is experiencing this, they may be hiding it, nobody knows each other’s story to the full extent. If I’m more honest, and I say, “Hey Kai, this is what I’ve been experiencing, this is what I’ve been feeling.” What’s the risk? 

The risk is he’s going to brush it aside, or is this person going to take a step back, and think, “Finally, there’s someone I can talk to. There’s someone that understands what I’m feeling.” And that can change a person’s life dramatically. Being able to know that there’s someone out there that understands or is in the same level or plane as you, it’s life changing. 

And I learned that when I experienced my mental health concern. I was in denial about it, up until someone called me up, and said, “I want to know if you’re in the right mindset or in the right space.” And ako naman, in denial, akala ko I’m in the right mindset, sabi ko, “Sige, what’s up? What’s your problem?” And she told me everything that was going on, and she said, “I wanna seek therapy, I wanna seek medication. This is what I wanna do.” And she was explaining what was happening with her. 

And while I was listening to her, of course I wanted to be a friend to her, but I was starting to recognize na wait a minute, I’m not feeling well, too. Maybe I should also check in. Who’s the doctor? Maybe you can also recommend me. And it led to that. It led to my discovery of being able to seek proper help. It led to the discovery of understanding and being in tune with my mental health. 

And you’ll never know who you come across and whose life you’re gonna change forever by doing that. By being honest and completely — I don’t think “proud” is the word, just honest. Just being yourself. 

KM: Yeah. And that’s being free also, because in my case I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder more than 10 years ago. And of course when you say one is OC, we make fun of it, I make sure everything is aligned. The offshoot is perfectionism, and of course when things aren’t perfect, and if you know me, my life is a series of one fantastic failure after another, that brings in the depression. 

So depression is actually an offshoot of the OCD. But the person talking to you right now, Cat, is someone who realized that, “Okay, I’m OCD. Before I start working, I lay out all the colors of my pens and then diretso na ‘ko, I can work straight. I’m OCD, I’m detail-oriented, that makes me an excellent project manager.” Right? 

So when I spoke with — (to cam) Hi, Chris Clarke, our Chief Growth Officer here at Hello Doctor, at Hello Health Group, in my first interview, I disclosed it: “I have OCD and that makes me a great project manager.” When I finally got diagnosed, “finally” because it was bound to happen. I knew it was OCD but there were going to be other effects because life is not kind all the time. 

And then when the doctor said, “Congratulations, you have what Picasso and Van Gogh — ” and he said other artists, other creative people, what they had. And then I said, “What is it?” It’s clinical depression. And it’s not emotion. That’s one thing that makes me sad sometimes. Maybe that’s another conversation altogether, Cat, but when people mistake sad for depressed. Maybe there are overlaps, but there are also differences, so that we don’t misuse the term. 

But yeah, I super agree with you. I know how to turn it around so that it works in my favor, and when I see that it starts to work against me, I do that healthy detachment, that step back that you were talking about, that I also learned from all these years of mindfulness, exercises, and self-awareness.

CT: I wanna squeeze something into that. I feel like when you’re more honest, you get to automatically filter people that you don’t need in your life. Right? Because if they don’t understand, and  if they’re gonna be constantly giving you that mentality that it’s not important, that your mental health is not important, you don’t need them. It’s an automatic filter. 

And it’s great because what other value, and it’s not being selfish, what other value are they able to give in your life in a more positive way if that’s their mindset? You don’t need to be exposed to that.

And I’m saying that for everyone. If that’s your family member, if that’s your best friend, and they don’t empathize, and if they don’t take the time to learn and understand — at the first few meetings, if they talk about it, and they take a step back, you can say it’s them being naive. Okay, that’s fine. 

But if that constantly becomes a habit, they don’t recognize and respect your boundaries, even if that’s your boss, take a step back. You don’t need to be there, you don’t need that environment. 

KM: Actually, it becomes very clear to you who the people are — the “gaslighters” that they say, they warp your reality, and make you feel like there’s something wrong because you are the way you are. So thank you for this condition, I’m able to determine who those are, and it really feels like the trash took itself out, Cat.

What I shared with you that happened just this morning, actually that was my feeling. I was struggling because not everyone felt the same way about the news that we got this morning. But you know what? I’m gonna have my bedtime. No more revenge procrastination, and then (get a) healthy amount of sleep, a healthier body, and a healthier mind to do the work that we are doing here right now. 

Hello Health is about democratizing healthcare information, Cat. We want everyone to have access to the right information, medically evaluated, medically reviewed data. 

So question: How do you know if it’s your mind or it’s your body? Say for example, you woke up, and you’re not feeling well. How do you determine for yourself — you’re self-managing na, you’re self-assessing, you’re self-aware — how do you determine, is it your mind? Or is it my body and I’m really feeling a physical toll from life? How do you do that?

CT: Again, not expert advice, but I would say it as a mental health advocate, and as someone that’s constantly dealing with the challenges of depression. I make sure to — I follow Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, actually. 

The base needs, the food, the physical health, everything. All of these have a checklist. Like, “Okay, did I drink enough water today?” Those are the basic stuff kasi those things, the base at the bottom, that’s the easiest to do. Drink water, get enough sleep, eat the food that you like, eat the food that’s healthy, walk around, breathe. All this basic stuff. 

And when you track all of that, “Okay, I drank enough water today, I got enough sleep last night” etc, etc. If it’s not working, then maybe it’s something in your head, maybe it’s something deeper that has to be understood. And alam mo naman, at the very top of that (pyramid) is, “Oh, what is my purpose?” and belongingness and all of these things. 

In MindNation, we have different dimensions of well-being. We have physical, social, emotional, mental, and cultural. 

And when we talk about physical, that’s your most fundamental. It’s not just your body, but also things that make us feel secure. Are you secure at home? Are you secure financially? And these are things that you don’t think are part of mental health, but they are, they play a very big role. And being able to check those boxes, and understanding, even with depression — when I got diagnosed with depression, he didn’t start by going like, “Maybe you need to find your purpose. Maybe you need to create a mission/vision board of things that you want to be so that you can look forward.” 

No, he started off by saying, “Get some sleep.” Your sleep is your mind and the body’s way of recharging. And when you’re already operating on fumes, it’s really hard to answer the harder questions, like what your purpose in life is. 

When it’s hard to get some sleep, he gave me things to help me sleep, gave me a list, like, “Drink milk, warm water, eat nuts.” All of these things to improve sleep, and then we started from there. When I got enough sleep, and he monitored me for two weeks just on sleeping medications and having a balanced diet. 

During my depression, the peak of that, I felt that the comfort food was the only thing that was keeping me together, and it wasn’t helping, because the only thing I was eating was instant pancit canton. That’s it. I couldn’t be bothered to cook a full course meal, I couldn’t be bothered to do anything. I liked it, it tasted good and everything. It’s so hard to do something beneficial for you when you’re at your lowest. 

And sinabi niya, “Okay, just go back to basics. Think of yourself, like right now, you’re an infant. You just need to take care of everything.” Kasi when you’re crying, like you don’t even know what it’s about, things that a baby needs: water, sleep, food, cleaning, all of that stuff. Just think of yourself like a little child and you need to take care of yourself at the very beginning. 

And then if all of those are checked out, you’re able to have more clarity, and see, “Okay, this is my problem.” And you’re able to introspect more, because you’re fed, because you’re healthy, because you’re hydrated, because you got enough sleep. 

So a rule of thumb for me, start with the physical stuff. That’s the easiest, and it really really helps you be more mindful as well.

KM: Well Cat, thank you, you’ve shared so much of yourself in this conversation. Thank you so much. I think that’s the best segue to MindNation and to how you put it together and what you are here for. So please go ahead and share with us what MindNation is about and how can people go to you, come to your organization, for help with their mental health concerns.

CT: Sure. Well I started MindNation together with several partners and they were all very wonderful because we were all aligned with the mission. And these partners, they’ve been mental health advocates for a long time, because they had backgrounds in psychology, and they also had their own mental health journeys. 

And at the time, I wasn’t even classifying myself as a mental health advocate because I was going through it, and I was like, “I can’t be a mental health advocate and not practice what I preach.” So I took that time, but while I was going through that journey, I started to realize the big gaps in mental health in the Philippines, and I realized that that was the same globally. 

HMOs, HMO cards, don’t have mental health benefits, it’s not covered in your employee benefits. And the psychologist sessions, psychiatrist sessions, they are… damn expensive. They’re up to Php3000 to Php4000 an hour, and the medications, they’re something else. I was raking up Php15,000 per month just on medications. None of those, I can reimburse. 

The thought and the stigma was that this is your choice. And to some extent, it was explained to me na it’s similar to having cosmetic surgery. You’re going to be prescribed medication for pain, but we’re not allowed to reimburse that because that’s your choice. 

And that was the thinking of people in regards to mental health in the workplace. It’s your choice if you’re not able to create that boundary between home and work. It’s your choice if you’re not able to control your emotions in the workplace. And I realized, “Why are they doing this? It’s not right.” 

Because I’m functioning, I know I am a good marketer, I knew I was providing for the organization, it’s just that right now, I can’t. I’m going through something, and it’s hard to separate that. I wanna be a better person for the organization, and if they’re going to reimburse me for my flu, if they’re gonna allow me to take leaves for more serious conditions or for not being physically well, they should be also able to do that for mental health.

So I took a step back, and I realized that, “Okay, the technical stuff is there, not being able to reimburse, the lack of a mental health policy in the organization.” But did you know, in the Philippines, it’s a law for you to HAVE mental health policies at work. It’s the law. Why is nobody following it? 

And also, the reason why there’s no shift in the idea or the belief in the organization is because the leaders don’t find the connect between investing in mental health, and the bottomline, which is why we did those studies, why we had those surveys. How much time are they being productive, how much talent are they losing, how much money are they losing in exchange for poor mental health? For not being able to value mental health? 

Because a lot of these leaders, these organizations, they wanna see numbers. They wanna see data, and sure. Put it in a presentation for me, I don’t want it in concept. I want there to be proof that there is a connection. 

So okay. Let’s have the surveys. Let’s make it data-driven. Let’s show them that the culture of having a psychologically-safe workplace actually does so much wonders for an employee’s productivity, motivation, and they’re able to function at a more optimal level when they’re mentally well. You’d think that’s something that’s supposed to be automatic, but it’s not. 

And if it was easy for our organization, we would have been rolling around in money already, but it’s not. And it’s constantly a battle of proving to organizations and leaders that it is beneficial, and it is important. 

So we started MindNation in late 2019, even before the pandemic. We started off by providing B2B services to organizations, providing talks and trainings for leaders, for members. I also personally do the talks for mental resilience and overall mental health. And we provide psychologist and psychiatrist consultations via teletherapy, and also wellbeing coaches for those that are — it’s not debilitating naman, but they want someone to guide them, so we have them. And we have the 24/7 chat on Facebook Messenger, that’s available for everyone. 

They can also take well-being quizzes there, to see what state of mental health they’re in to see if they’re okay, if they’re thriving, if they’re burnt out. And we’re able to provide the services for you to cope as well. We provide podcasts, we have meditation and mindfulness practices, worksheets, anything that you need to bring yourself back, to be a better person, mind, body, and soul, we provide those. And we’ve been able to partner with amazing organizations like Mental Health PH, Philippine Mental Health Association, with Senator Risa’s (Hontiveros) office, who is the proponent of the Mental Health Law in the Philippines. 

We’ve been able to provide free psychologist consultations during the time — I wouldn’t call it the peak because we’re still kind of at the peak of the pandemic, but at the start of the pandemic. We now grew from 4 people at the start of 2019 in the Philippines, we’re now over 50 and our services are already available all across Asia and the Middle East.

So it’s been a good and amazing journey. That growth would have not been possible if we did not have of course our scientific board of advisers, our experts as well, and people who are just willing to help out and contribute to the advocacy. We are not an NGO of course, we’re for profit, but a lot of the things we do are driven by the need now that isn’t being addressed. 

And at the crux of everything, we want to be able to make mental health valued, supported, and a priority for everyone: individuals and organizations. And hopefully in the long run, we come out of this pandemic, we come out of our challenges a lot stronger, and a lot more resilient to be able to face all the other things to come. 

Because I’m not a fortune teller, and I’m not here to say that there will be no more pandemic ever in the future. But just like with any other challenge, we hope that we learn from this, and we are able to move forward and set the necessary things in place for us to be more prepared. That’s how mental health is, and how it should be, and we hope that MindNation is able to be with you guys every step of the way.

KM: Okay. Well, Cat, thank you so much for your time. It’s a Saturday, but you agreed to spend time with us to talk about this. This is just the start of conversations, more talks about mental health. You have the Hello Doctor team behind you. Of course, if the other markets are watching, our family, of course there’s Hello Doctor in Indonesia, in Taiwan, Southeast Asia. You guys, if you wanna reach out to Cat, let me know. 

This episode is for all the friends we lost, and for everyone who’s watching, who still haven’t found their power in acknowledging that they have a mental health condition, it doesn’t make them a bad person. In fact it makes them even more special. Because the person I’m talking to right now is lifetimes different from the girl I had lunch with at Hungry Hippo in BGC. ‘Di ba, Cat, you were securing this cookie from Starbucks. 

So anyway, thank you Cat Triviño of MindNation, thank you for that. Thank you to everyone who watched and tuned in. We actually got questions from our readers, but what we’re gonna do is I’m gonna send them to you, if you don’t mind, and then we can publish them under the video when we embed it on our website. Okay?

CT: Absolutely. Kai, thank you so much for the opportunity, again. And I’d like to say how amazing and how strong you are. You’ve gone through whirlwinds of problems. You’ve gone through, in your words, amazing failures. But I love how we’re still here, and how we’re actively fighting for not only ourselves, but also for the people who have not scratched the surface of mental health yet and are struggling. 

I have lost people due to their mental health concerns, I have put myself at risk also because of that. And in hindsight, I wish I could have developed more strength. I’m just glad that I had good people that surrounded me, and people that believed in me, and I really hope that your story, your perseverance, and the fact that we’re able to talk about it and be honest about it here is proof that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

And we only grow stronger, we only become better versions. And I hope that those that are watching that are not yet there, or just realizing it now through this episode, that we’re here, and we’re going to all go through this together. 

I’m gonna cry also, this is an emotional episode.

KM: Oo nga eh, thank you, Cat. I’m gonna end this here. Have a beautiful day. To everyone who tuned in, thank you, and please support MindNation, and please keep reading Hello Doctor. Bye, everyone.

CT: Bye!

Read more helpful stories on mental health here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Kai Magsanoc · Updated Feb 16, 2023

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