MENTAL HEALTH COUNCIL. The Department of Health in Calabarzon conducts the 2nd Regional Mental Health Summit, which sought to establish the Regional Mental Health Council in the region, held in Quezon City on Thurday (Oct. 17, 2019). The platform also seeks to provide sustainability to the current mental health programs in the country. (Lade Kabagani/PNA)

MANILA --A regional council for mental health care is set to be established by the Department of Health (DOH) in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) region.

DOH Calabarzon Regional Director Eduardo Janairo on Thursday said the creation of the Regional Council for Mental Health provides sustainability to the current mental health programs in the country.

"We have to sustain many factors related to health problems, it has to be resolved, we have to make a process and policy in the region based on needs on mental health," Janairo said during the 2nd Regional Mental Health Summit in Quezon City.

"That mental council would set a standard of patients' referrals, the way we [DOH] help and support the patient's mental needs which mental health care will be sustainable forever," Janairo added.

Janairo also laid out DOH Calabarzon's action plans upon the creation of the regional council.

"We will make a database to know how rampant it is [mental health problem] in Calabarzon, if we get the number, we will be able to plot the plans for our patients," he said.

"We will be able to see the needed budget required for the implementation of this program in the entire region, we can now attend to the needs of the patients as well as to integrate the universal health care program needed by the community," he added.

The DOH-led council is composed of government and non-government agencies, local health units and partner hospitals in the Calabarzon region.

The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11036, otherwise known as the Mental Health Act, was signed into law on June 20, 2018, and took effect on July 5, that same year.

The law highlights a balanced delivery of mental health services -- both community and hospital-based -- and more focused on individuals with psychiatric, neurologic, and psychosocial health needs, and overcoming society’s challenges.

Janairo urged people who experience mental health issues to "live free from stigma and discrimination".

"I'm appealing to those people not to be afraid, we have trained health workers in Calabarzon to assist you and identify your mental needs," Janairo said.

He added that medical consultation related to mental health is free of charge.

"We will organize a regional council for mental health to provide mental health services from barangay health station to rural health units up to hospitals as this will be part of the referral system under the Mental Health Act," Janairo said.

The regional council grants protection to persons availing psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial health services.

The council will be organized after a two-day event regional mental Health Summit on Oct. 17-18. (PNA)