How to hope while grieving: Counselor gives tips on handling sadness, loss amid pandemic

MANILA - A person can still hope while grieving. 

This was the message of Dr. Tito Almadin, a licensed clinical professional counselor and a mental health advocate, during a virtual forum on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on a person's mental health. 

Almadin said fear of sudden deaths, the threat of COVID-19, and the abnormal situation brought by the health crisis were among the reasons why many are anxious and sad. 

Despite this, however, he emphasized that people could still be hopeful by relying with God and one's "confidence that we will get better." 

"We trust in ourselves that we are getting better and we are not getting worse. Hope is something that you do not see, but hope is something of great confidence in the future because we cannot have a great hope unless we have a great hope with God and hope with ourselves," he explained. 

Grieving due to loss of property, possessions, and loss of loved ones is normal because we are human, he said. 

The counselor added that grief would not go away in our lifetime but it would only be "mild," as people learn to cope and manage it.

"The only way to cope with grief is to go through it... it's part of human nature... kailangan ilabas mo kung ano yung mga bagay na nangyayari sa'yo," he explained. 

(You need to release it, and express what you are feeling because of what happened)

"Pag sinu-suppress mo emotion mo, sandali lang yan, momentary relief... but kung gradually nilabas mo onti-onti, may lead to permanent relief." 

(If you suppress your emotion, that's only short term, momentary. If you gradually express it, it may lead to permanent relief)


Almadin also stressed the importance of support from family and friends during the difficult time. 

If people will have challenges in coping with the situation, they should also seek professional medical help to help process it.

Here are some tips how to support someone in grief, according to Almadin, citing non-profit organization GrieveWell:


  • Say "I am sorry for your loss" and "I am here for you" as an indication you understand 
  • Reach out to that person 
  • Listen with compassion 
  • Accept and be comfortable with silence
  • Offer specific help, if you can 
  • Be there for the long-term 
  • Use the name of their loved one 


  • Say "how are you" or "I know how you feel" 
  • Use sentences that start with "at least..." in a bid to lessen the grief 
  • Avoiding the loss because of your own discomfort 

Almadin added that prayer and reading the Bible could also help in the grieving process. 

More than a year since the virus reached the country, the Philippines is gripped by the pandemic fatigue, which is evident through the increasing calls to help lines and rise in activities that seek to combat stress, among other things. 

Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) said at least 3.6 million Filipinos are battling mental health issues amid the health crisis. 

The agency said some 1.14 million Filipinos have depression, 847,000 are battling alcohol-use disorders, while 520,000 others were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. 

Psychologist Randy Dellosa earlier said Filipinos have grown “sick and tired of trying to consider as a ‘new normal’ what in reality is an obvious ‘abnormal.’’

Philippines has so far tallied over 1.2 million COVID-19 cases, nearly 54,000 of which are considered active. 

The country's death toll due to the virus stood at over 20,000.

— With reports from Josiah Antonio and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News 



Article title: How to hope while grieving: Counselor gives tips on handling sadness, loss amid pandemic

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News
Posted at May 28 2021 06:37 PM | Updated as of May 29 2021 03:52 PM