ZAMBOANGA CITY – In line with the 120th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary celebration, the Department of Labor and Employment 9 held an online learning session on mental health for its employees via Zoom teleconference.

Aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone and that mental well-being of workers need to be supported while at their jobs, the session focused on creating sacred spaces where DOLE employees can be with one’s thoughts and feelings in peace and calmness.

Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe said in his opening remarks, “The COVID-19 pandemic is extremely stressful for everyone – not only is it challenging in our professional lives but more so in our personal lives –  affecting us mentally thus we need an expert who can give us advice on how to cope with the current situation.”

He added that the session is timely and provided the much needed resources in improving mental health of DOLE employees.

DOLE 9 invited Ms. Mellanie M. Marquez, a Values Education Teacher at Devagiri CMI Public School, Calicut, Kerala, India, a school run by the fathers of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate whose founder is St. Kuriokose Elias Chavara. She is also an expert on topics such as Personal Growth, Spirituality, Eastern Meditation and Prayer Methods.

In her session, Ms. Marquez talked about how to keep and respect personal sacred space and respecting other people’s spaces may it be mental, physical, spiritual and emotional.

She also taught participants certain methods of meditation to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. She emphasizes the co-relation of being calm in situations to being productive in the workplace and harnessing better relations with co-workers.

“During this challenging times, what we need is to create a space for ourselves where it is safe and allows us to be creative and free with our thoughts and feelings. It also gives us a deeper understanding of other people’s boundaries and spaces which we must not cross,” she said.

Adding further, “Some circumstances are beyond our control but what we have control over is our sacred space so if we don’t want the space where we are in, we re-create it.” END