By Kristelle Bechayda
In the wake of the implementation of the Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Act of the Philippines, the first comic book series to tackle mental health and other forms of addiction was launched.
Cyber Brain was written by Ces Casas-Gonzales, a DOH-accredited rehabilitation practitioner, and illustrated by his brother Carmelo Casas. It follows the story of 10- year-old boy Uno who is endowed with special powers to help others, but also suffers from the effects of anger and computer addiction.
According to Gonzales, this series took 10 years to finish, with the first book inspired from the workshops, surveys, consultations, and roadshows conducted across many schools in Metro Manila. It was found that students are facing behavioral issues like bullying, violence, computer addiction, absenteeism or tardiness, disrespect for elders, and poor study habits.
“While these issues are being discussed in various venues, we need to reach out to those with the highest stakes – the children themselves. And we need to do it in a manner they would easily grasp,” explained Gonzales.
Having been exposed to cases of mental health, computer addiction, and substance addiction among young people, Gonzales has seen firsthand their effects on a child’s well-being and wants help them cope from these issues.
“The environment in which young people have to grow today has become complicated, with the breakdown of family values and children’s increasing attachment to gadgets,” she added. “We believe comics are the best medium to deliver the message to our target audience, because they are used to bold colors, catchy images and clever dialogue.”
Just like the first book, the succeeding installments in the Cyber Brain series will explore other aspects of mental health and behavioral issues identified in the workshops.
For more information on this comic series, visit cyberbrainph.com.