Sarah picture


I am a graduating student with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Philippines and an occasional queer illustrator.

To me, Filipino youth are expert and independent navigators of family expectations, mental illness and conservative stigmas. Organising youth with allies who are aware and ready to act is the next step to improving lives at the community level. Youth mental health advocacy helps Filipinos from all generations to reach out. It gives us the footholds and linkages to challenge social norms empathetically. It helps Filipinos identify with South East Asians with similar lived experiences, making a diverse home for us to return to.

Family dynamics and interpersonal skills are not often explored in the Filipino formal educational system, and this intersects with the unmet support needs of girls, queer, and students with disabilities. To utilise existing community spaces in our local governmental units, I am looking to connect local places of worship and nearby schools in presenting a peer-counselling and support group workshop to high school aged youth. Project Dialogue will begin in selected Catholic schools in metro Manila as a pilot program linking youth to similar-aged peers and adult allies. The aim is to:

  • provide preventive education and peer support for depression, anxiety, and other risks for self-harm and suicide in Filipino students;
  • improve interpersonal skills and introspection with peers and older individuals; and,
  • offer high impact volunteer opportunities for local faithful in facilitating peer training with youth.