PAPJA 2021: Reinforcing Mental Health Advocacies in the New Normal

By Eldric Carl L. Fandialan with Myr Jvy C. Mahinay

Since March 2020, most countries have implemented restrictions against COVID-19. Millions have died, and many people have suffered from the socio-economic effects and unemployment brought by the pandemic. As students, our academic lives transitioned from face-to-face classes to virtual learning. The process, to say the least, has proven difficult for many. 


On May 7, 2021, mental health professionals and 1,800 Psychology students attended the 34th Annual Psychological Association of the Philippines Junior Affiliates (PAPJA) Convention with the theme, “Transition to the New Normal Through Healing and Recovery.”


In his opening remarks, Dr. Marc Eric S. Reyes, the association president, welcomed the delegates. The chairperson, Dr. Eduardo C. Caligner, emphasized the importance of webinars and virtual counseling to assist our fellowmen, especially the front-liners. 


PAPJA 2021 featured workshops and events such as Plenary Session, PAP Song Writing Competition, Search for the Outstanding Research, and PsyClips Video Making Competition. 


Plenary Session (Part I)


In the first part of the plenary session, Dr. Kenneth P. Javate discussed “Resilience, Routine & Radical Acceptance: How Future Psychologists Can Thrive Towards Healing and Recovery.” He presented statistics on how the pandemic had affected the mental health of college students across the globe. He also talked about the importance of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and radical acceptance. Dr. Javate also taught the attendees the Pomodoro Technique and how to avoid multitasking.


Plenary Session (Part II)


The second part of the plenary session was led by registered psychometrician Riyan Portuguez. She discussed “Self-healing and Recovery Amidst Crisis” where she encouraged psychology students to help one another recover. 


Afternoon Session

At one o’clock in the afternoon, the workshops in PAPJA 2021 were divided into six sessions: 

Session 1: You Have Been Disconnected: Staying Socially

Engaged in Lockdown; 

Session 2: Ayoko nang Masikip, Ayoko nang Putik: Harnessing the

Environment for Personal Well-being; 

Session 3: Which Tips to Follow? Rethink our Engagement with 

Healing and Recovery Research; 

Session 4: Helper’s Corner: Fundamental Skills of a Mental Health 


Session 5: Unlocking the Power Within: Strategies Leading to Inner 


Session 6: Lockdown Romance: Creative Ways to Keep in Touch.

Reflection and insight

Ms. Julienne Palmones, a first-year Psychology student at New Era University, said that “joining the PAPJA event was a humbling and inspiring experience.” Another student, Ms. Sheila Mae Gunao, also remarked that “she never regrets her decision in joining the 34th Annual PAPJA event” because it helped her attain valuable knowledge needed in pursuing a profession in psychology.