LOOK: This student offered free hugs to raise awareness on depression

Hug Me Cover

Sometimes all you need is a hug to feel better.

There are numerous [health] benefits of hugs – these include lowered blood pressure, alleviated fears and relief from stress, according to Huffington Post. Hugging is also reported to release oxytocin which is commonly known as the cuddle hormone, according to the same article. American psychologist Matt Hertenstein even points out that Oxytocin “promotes feelings of devotion, bonding and trust“, as reported to NPR.org.

Denielle Hernandez, a student at the University of Sto. Tomas, has been suffering from depression for about three years already, she tells WHEN IN MANILA. 

“We are asked in (one my subjects) to do an awareness video regarding inclusion. Since I was diagnosed, my groupmates and I thought of this idea that would show how the Thomasian community would react.”

Hernandez stood in notable places around the vicinity of the university where she wore plankards that read “I’m diagnosed with depression, are you willing to hug me?” She told WHEN IN MANILA that the experiment took around an hour and a half. She stood in different spots along España, UST field, and Plaza Mayor for about 15-20 minutes (per spot).

She shared her experience on her Twitter account, and the post received overwhelming recognition.

Original tweet: https://twitter.com/deeeenhernandez/status/909775436824981505/

“At first everyone is in doubt,” Hernandez shares with WHEN IN MANILA“Some even asked me if it was for real but when I answered yes, they continued to hug me. They also left me with their kind words. Since UST is starting to make a move about mental health, almost all showed sympathy and love.”

“Actual depression has no cure. It is a lifetime disability. You never know whether or not you have, not unless you get checked. All along, I thought it was just sadness, stress, frustration and all. But when I thought of killing myself several times, that’s the time when I realized that there is more than what I thought. I’m still going through it, but I can handle it better now.”

Hernandez shared to WHEN IN MANILA  a favorite memory of hers during the ‘experiment’.

“A parent came to hug me and she asked me if it was for real and when I answered ‘yes’, her reply was “Halika dito anak, yakap ng isang ina ang kailangan mo.” (Come here child, a hug from a mother is what you need.) Omg!!! That was the time when I cried hard.”

Hernandez shares kind words and advice for those who are going through tough times as well.

“Depression is a real thing and there’s no cure. No antibiotics or prescription can make you feel well. Like what I always say…it’s okay not to be okay. It’s normal! Hindi man tayo maintindihan ng mundong ito sa ngayon (the world may not understand us at this point), don’t worry it will not take forever. Learn to embrace and accept depression. You are loved… we are loved! I’m one with you fighting for depression!” 

What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: WheninManila.com does not own the photos above. Credits go to Denielle Hernandez.


Related Stories