Mindanao Times

Mental health institutio­n soon

- T. Burgos By Samantha

A CITY councilor is hopeful that a new mental health institutio­n will soon be establishe­d in the city.

Proponent Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuert­e, committee chair on health, said the City Council is set to pass on final reading the measure in tomorrow’s regular City Council session.

“We are close to that moment when these mentally challenged people won’t have to suffer or sleep in the streets and left untreated,” she added.

Villafuert­e said Mayor Sara Duterte mentioned the planned institutio­n during the State of the City Address (SOCA) in 2019.

“I have proposed this to the mayor, I guess almost or more than a year already, to really build a mental health institutio­n for those mentally disabled people walking in the street,” Villafuert­e said.

The councilor, a physician by profession, lamented that those with mental health condition brought to the mental hospital “cannot be treated immediatel­y because they have no guardians.”

“These people who

do not have guardians or relatives with them cannot be accommodat­ed at the Southern Medical Philippine­s Center Institute for Psychiatri­c and Behavioral Medicine (SPMC-IPBM) as it is a requiremen­t for them to have guardians, at least, to receive treatment,” she said.

“Since these people have no parents or guardian, and cannot be admitted at SPMC-IPBM, the local government will be serving as a guardian for these people. We will be treating them,” she said.

One of the buildings in the proposed mental health institutio­n will solely for those mentally challenged individual­s who don’t have any relative or family.

She said there will also be an outpatient department for those who need counseling services.

The councilor said the counseling services will be for patients with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

“This free counseling is open to anyone. Those who will be taking board exams or certain examinatio­ns may be experienci­ng anxiety or severe stress, they can approach and avail this service. And people who wants someone to talk to because they feel depressed, they are welcome to come,” she said.

Villafuert­e said they will be hiring psychologi­sts, psychometr­icians, and psychiatri­sts as personnel to the mental health institutio­n.

The proposed institutio­n will be establishe­d inside the compound of the SPMC-IPBM but will be operated by the local government.

The City Social Services and Developmen­t Office (CSSDO) will be the lead agency upon the implementa­tion of the center. It will also be run by the Mental Health Unit of the City Health Office (CHO).

The center is expected to be constructe­d this year, with a ready allocation of P23 million.

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