Advocate Claudia Barretto champions safe spaces, positive mental well-being


Twenty-two-year-old Claudia’s passion for mental health is rooted in her own personal experience. At an early age of 10, she has shown early signs of depression. When she was 16, she was clinically diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety. Since then, she has been seeking professional help with her prescribed medication.

Now a mental health advocate, the singer-songwriter recently took part in PLDT and Smart’s collaborative platform Better Today through its Conversations series on Mental Health Awareness, entitled, “Kamusta Ka, eLyU?”, a project co-developed by PLDT and Smart with mental health advocate Joy Ortega and supported by the Provincial Government of La Union.

“Beyond seeing a doctor and getting prescribed medication, it is important that we create practices and routines to maintain a positive mental well-being. Well-being includes our physical health, our relationships, our livelihood, our school life, our home life. It takes a lot to take care of yourself, but it is worth it. We are all worth the hard work,” Claudia said.

As part of her advocacy, Claudia launched “Mind Games”, a campaign endorsed by #MentalHealthPH, one of the country’s largest mental health organizations. Mind Games is centered on utilizing art, specifically music, as a positive approach in raising awareness and promoting inclusivity among Filipino youth who experience mental illnesses.

“Creating safe spaces doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as picking a corner in your room – just a place where you can feel at ease. Even open forums such as Better Today Conversations on Mental Health Awareness can be a safe space. Anywhere you can be authentic about your experiences is a safe space,” Claudia said.

She also shared that open forums and talks can help drive conversations on mental health awareness. It is an important way to gain knowledge about mental health and understand its importance to someone’s over-all well-being.

“It is my hope that we all continue to educate ourselves. We need to keep investing in our mental health. Healing is not something that happens overnight. It is something that you work on day in and day out. Keep fighting,” Claudia said.

PLDT and Smart seek to uplift and improve the overall physical and mental wellness of Filipinos through initiatives that ensure food security, improve nutrition, and create awareness online.

These initiatives emphasize the commitment of PLDT and Smart to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being.


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Gabriel

Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.