Physician and mental health advocate Gia Sison dies

Russell Ku

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Physician and mental health advocate Gia Sison dies
(2nd UPDATE) ‘No words can express the sorrow but I am happy you are peaceful now, no pain, no sufferings. I love you so much my soulmate, my Henny Hen,’ her husband Rogin says in a Facebook post.

MANILA, Philippines – Physician and mental health advocate Gia Sison died on Thursday, March 21. Her death was first confirmed by the ​​Asociación de Alumnas de Poveda. She was 53. 

Her husband Rogin and daughter Angela also confirmed the news through online tributes. 

“No words can express the sorrow but I am happy you are peaceful now, no pain, no sufferings.  I love you so much my soulmate, my Henny Hen,” Rogin said. 

Gia recently shared in a X post that she had suffered a “sudden cardiac death” on February 25. She added that she had gone through an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator procedure. 

“I died for six seconds, stuck in a black hole then suddenly scooped back in with the prominent voice of my husband repeatedly asking me to ‘come back’ after which I heard him apologize for defibrillating me and the rest just happened so fast,” she said. 

Gia was Makati Medical Center’s head of wellness. She also served as a consultant for the World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office on Health Lifestyle in the Workplace and national advisor for the Youth for Mental Health Coalition. 

She is most known for her battle with breast cancer, which forced her to undergo a mastectomy on her left breast.

“I had never been confined in a hospital, not from the time I was a fetus until I was 44 years old. And suddenly I had cancer,” she told Rappler in 2015. (READ: Battle Scar

Gia was also known for hosting podcast episodes for shows such as The Linya-Linya Show and Walwal Sesh

Walwal Sesh co-host Vino Orajay paid tribute to the late doctor, thanking her for being his “second mom.”

Comedian Red Ollero, who worked with Gia for a World Mental Health Day campaign, said in a Facebook post that she “left a great legacy of raising awareness about mental health.”

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said in an X post that she was “stunned” by the news of Gia’s death, adding that she was “always so warm, always so generous with her light.” 

The Department of Health expressed its condolences to the family of Sison in a statement on Saturday, March 23.

“The Department of Health condoles with the family, loved ones, and friends of the late Dr. Gia Baquiran Sison. It is with gratitude for her life and work that we remember her strong support for Mental Health. Her calm and friendly voice was a voice that spoke for many others, a messenger that brought about positive change in mental health awareness and policy,” the DOH said in a statement.

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa also paid tribute to Sison. “Maraming salamat, Dr. Gia, sa pagkilos tungo sa ginhawa ng isip at damdamin (Thank you, Dr. Gia, for your efforts toward mental wellness). A grateful health sector will continue the work to ensure that mental health services will be available for all Filipinos,” he said. – With a report from Kaycee Valmonte/

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Russell Ku

Russell Ku is a digital communications specialist at Rappler who believes in the power of stories to build an empathic society.