A proposed ordinance seeking to establish a community-based program and delivery system to address issues on mental health down to the barangay level is up before the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) in Iloilo City.
“This was proposed during the pre-COVID-19 because during that time I was alarmed with the high incidence of suicide in Iloilo. Addressing this issue could not be solved easily because you have to understand the reason behind (the mental health problem),” said Councilor Rudolph Jeffrey O. Ganzon, co-chair of the SP Committee on Health, Sanitation, Hospital Services and proponent of the ordinance in an interview Tuesday, Oct. 19.
For the 2019 to 2020 period, over 30 incidents of suicide cases were recorded in the city, he said.
The proposal was calendared on Tuesday's regular session of the SP but Ganzon had it deferred because he wanted to get more inputs, especially on the effects of the pandemic on mental health.
He added that since it is community-based, the ordinance is pushing for the creation of a help desk in barangays that will initiate various programs and services, with the help of the private sector, academe, and other concerned agencies.
“We need to equip people who are there already. We equip them with training on how to handle this,” he added.
There will also be funds to be provided for those that need intervention, such as with the case of severe mental illness needing rehabilitation.
Ganzon said the ordinance hopes to see people being more sensitive to mental health issues.
The ordinance, he said, will serve as a bible on how issues on mental health will be handled.
The proposed ordinance also aimed to localized Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Act and have it tailor-fit to the need of the locality, he added.
Central to the Philippine Mental Health Act signed in 2018 is the protection and the promotion of the rights of persons with psychiatric, neurologic, and psychosocial health needs as well as their families.PNA