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Cebu News

Government urged to prioritize mental health programs

Kristine B. Quintas/NSA - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A non-government organization has called on government officials and political aspirants to prioritize mental health programs.

Jeannie Goulbourn, founder of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF), said mental health needs to be incorporated in the program of the government with sufficient funding to achieve inclusive growth.

“It is a global challenge. This is a real problem that we have to address now. We need to help people who are suffering from stress, depression and emotional crisis,” she said.

Established in 2007, NGF aims to promote mind and body health. It further aims to remove the stigma of depression and bring help to those who suffer from this “treatable” disease.

NGF is working with the Philippine Mental Health Association and the Department of Health to address such illness.

NGF board member Dr. Madeleine Valera also said public and private partnership is needed to reach the grassroots level.

“This is the only way so that we can reach the rural areas and the poor,” she said.

“We hope that the next president, governor, and mayor will also have mental health as part of their program. Let’s give full attention on mental health,” she added.

Valera said it’s time for the government to be of service to the depressed individuals and those who are mentally ill, saying that private sectors cannot do it alone.

“We have difficulties in getting sponsors, getting people interested and sustaining even the Hopeline. Private corporations are helping us but that’s not enough,” she said.

 She said if the government will not act immediately, the economy would not be the only one affected, but the entire humanity.

She explained that if one is stressed and depressed, the person cannot function and work properly.

Goulbourn cited United States of America as an example of such case, wherein it reportedly lost $47 billion because of its employees’ anxiety, making a career person “dysfunctional.”

Recognizing the need to address the suicide incidents in Cebu, the Coalition for Better Education in collaboration with the NGF and DOH launched last week a 24/7 confidential crisis support service called  “Hopeline.”

Hopeline aims to benefit Cebuanos who are at risk of suicide. The service will also be an information and communication hub for those experiencing crisis.

People from Visayas and Mindanao with suicidal tendencies may call 2919, 804-4673 or 0917-558-4673. At present, Hopeline-Cebu, which operates at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, has 12 respondents or volunteers helping those suffering from depression 24 hours, seven days a week.

The first suicide hotline was established for the Manila area three years ago.  (FREEMAN)

                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

 

ACIRC

BETTER EDUCATION

DR. MADELEINE VALERA

HEALTH

HOPELINE

JEANNIE GOULBOURN

NATASHA GOULBOURN FOUNDATION

NBSP

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

VICENTE SOTTO MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER

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