MyTown raises awareness on mental health issues

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    SM Investments Corp. said it is working to make living in its dormitory business MyTown more conducive, offering activities that address mental health among its tenants.

    A survey of tenants in MyTown showed that two out of three tenants feel less lonely now that they co-live at MyTown and over 80 percent see MyTown as a “home away from home.”

    SM Investments said MyTown, operated under Philippines Urban Solutions Inc., intends to maintain the suitable living environment in its various MyTown sites.

    As part of the observance of World Mental Health Month, MyTown conducted lecture series in partnership with the Philippine Mental Health Association to help raise awareness and foster discussions on the importance of mental health in the Philippines.

    “Rapid urbanization, an increase in the number of young professionals who live alone, and social media adoption are often cited as causes in adversely affecting mental health in big cities. Mental health is especially problematic amongst millennials and Gen Z,” said Jelmer Ikink, MyTown group director, citing the World Health Organization (WHO).

    “Most of us have experienced loneliness or depression, either first-hand or in our immediate surrounding. Our goal is for MyTown to be a way for people to find a community and support network in the big city. By driving this sense of community and belonging through our building designs and tenant events, we successfully lower the threshold for people to engage with others and have our tenants feel supported and connected,” he added.

    Drixel Ortega, chief customer officer at MyTown, said the survey also showed that most tenants go to the dormitory’s events alone “and that a big reason for joining these activities is to meet new friends.”

    “From movie and trivia nights to parties and community outreach activities, each tenant has the opportunity to connect and engage with others, create a supportive network, and maintain a social life,” Ortega said.

    Shared accommodation, also called co-living, gives tenants their own space within a larger building with communal areas, amenities, activities and events, thereby providing a range of social benefits that help to reduce loneliness.

    WHO has listed “social support networks” as one of the factors that determines health and happiness.