Bicol LGUs asked to boost mental health services

By Samuel Toledo

October 23, 2020, 1:16 pm

<p>DOH-Bicol office in Legazpi City<em> (PNA file photo)</em></p>

DOH-Bicol office in Legazpi City (PNA file photo)

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol has asked local government units (LGUs) in the region to boost mental health facilities amid the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Windalyn Baluis, DOH Regional Mental Health coordinator, on Thursday, said the goal of institutionalizing mental health services could be achieved if LGUs, including barangay officials, would help to immediately attend to mental health concerns.

She said DOH-Bicol has been training workers in the rural health units (RHUs) and city health offices (CHOs) on how to assess and initially manage mental health patients in their communities.

“We train these RHU and CHO workers to handle mental health patients since we really lack psychiatrists to attend to these individuals,” Baluis said.

She said Republic Act (RA) 11036, or the Mental Health Law is encouraging LGUs to establish mental health services so that these would become closer to the people.

RA 11036 provides, among others, that “timely, affordable, high-quality, and culturally-appropriate mental health care is made available to the public.”

Citing World Health Organization (WHO) data, Baluis said during ordinary times, 10 percent of a population is suffering from mental disorder. But during or after a distressful event, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, it doubles or rises to about 20 percent.

“Of course it also depends on how people respond to problems that could cause mental disorder,” she added.

Baluis commended the continuing operations of the Don Susano Rodriguez Mental Hospital in Pili, Camarines Sur to cater to persons with mental disorders.

She said only very few regions in the country have similar facilities. (PNA)