Cebu News

Implement mental health ordinances

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — A legislator in Cebu City is urging the executive department to implement the programs for mental health as indicated in ordinances passed following reported suicide cases in the city.

With the rising number of mental health and suicide cases in Cebu City, Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, chairwoman of the Committee on Mental Health, said there is mental health assistance in the city that the people can take advantage of.

She said there were ordinances she authored that were just passed before the City Council. One provides assistance to students and the other to employees.

The student assistance is in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) and has been allocated with a ?10-million budget.

This will begin from the first detection by the teachers that will be referred to the DSWS or to the Barangay Behavioral Unit to get an intervention. Aside from this, the teacher should coordinate with the guidance counselor. The said student assistance program will also have psychologists and psychiatrists.

The employee assistance program was just recently approved. Right now it is being piloted in City Hall.

“Makakita man tas atong mga empleyado. Some are from the house going to report to the house, mentally disturbed because nag-away sa bana, naay financial problems, naay marital problems, so madala sa trabaho, inig kadala sa trabaho ang mahitabo walay maayo nga output,” De los Santos said.

She added that the ordinance on establishing the Barangay Behavioral Health Unit (BBHU) was passed in 2019, but as of this writing only Barangay Lahug has been implementing it.

“Very sad kay gani daghan kaayo tag mga pasyente nga nanginahanglan og assistance. They just go to my office and I give them a referral to go to barangay hall,” she said.

She said it would make a difference if each barangay has its own BBHU. She added that with the rising mental health issues, its implementation will impact this concern.

“They have to implement that. There was a very good direction in terms as to the mental health issue but they have to implement that in every barangay... Nganong di man na na nila i-implementar? Dugay naman kaayo na. Og ila pa unta ni gi implementar sauna, the information dissemination must have reached to the far-flung areas already,” she added.

De los Santos lamented that multiple administrations have already passed but the ordinances on mental health remained unimplemented. The public would want widespread information dissemination on these mental health interventions, but they need to be implemented first.

“Mag unsa man ng nindot kaayo nato nga ordinansa og di nato i-implementar, dili man ako ang maka-implementar ana,” she said.

She said it is time the definition of mental health is redefined; health should be a composition of medical and mental health.

“Now, times have changed, lahi na na ang sitwasyon...mental health is also about a living,” she said, referring to stressors that can impact mental health. -

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