The Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF) launched their annual fund-raising event LIGHT UP A LIFE at Greenbelt 3 last December 1. Led by Jean Goulbourn and the board of NGF were Dr. Soe Nyunt-U, country representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Linda Milan of WHO, Dr. Patricia Licuanan, chairperson of the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), Dr. Romeo Enriquez, Vice President of the Philippine Psychiatric Association, Yoly Crisanto, Head of Corporate Communications of Globe Telecom, and Chef Colin Mackay of People’s Palace who were special guests invited to light the tree, signifying their support to the advocacy of the foundation.
“Very little attention is given to mental illnesses, particularly depression,” says Dr. Soe, “The stigma attached to it prevents us from addressing these concerns properly. That’s why foundations such as NGF are important- we HAVE to become aware.” As such, the WHO and NGF are currently working together to create a stronger campaign that will encourage mental fitness and health. “We’re still in the early stages,” says Jean Goulbourn, “but I am confident that with the WHO working proactively with us, we can make sure that people become more aware about depression!”
Donations from the event are used to continue and improve NGF’s programs- particularly the outreach program for OFW children. Initial studies have suggested that these children are more vulnerable to suffering from depression, especially during the holidays.
Mall goers were also treated to a special performance by OFW children from the foundation’s pilot project at Bay, Laguna, headed by Fr. Jessie Somosierra of the Saint Augustine Parish. The children sang 3 carols, ending with the all time favorite, “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit.”
“I never knew that it was so rampant,” says one attendee “but I found out today that this is a problem, and we should all try to fix it.”