Mental health care program for city residents eyed

BAGUIO CITY – (17 February 2021) – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance providing for a mental health care and wellness program for the city and appropriating funds for the said purpose.

Local legislators stated that it shall be a policy of the local government that in accordance with the constitutionally enshrined right that involves for the protection and promotion of the right to health of the people and to be given sufficient, adequate, proper, and timely mental illness prevention and treatment and to maintain the psychiatric, neurologic and psychological, mental stability of citizens ultimately, the community.

The council added that the measure will apply to all persons, regardless of age, sex, religion and such other distinctions, who are in need of psychiatric, neurologic and psycho-social health services.

The council proposed the creation of the Baguio City Mental Health Council (BCMHC) to serve as the advisory body to the city council and may serve as a policy-making body for the implementation of the community and recovery-based approaches and shall be primarily concerned in the crafting of a comprehensive mental health care and wellness system.

The BCMHC shall be composed of allied professionals on mental health, mental health professionals, mental health workers, local government officials and non-government organizations for the development of an effective and culturally sensitive program that will ensure the provision of affordable, professional and effective delivery of mental health services.

The BCMHC shall be composed of the City Mayor as chairperson with the chairperson of the City Council Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology and Environmental Protection as vice chairperson. The designated action officer is the City health Officer while the members include the chairperson of the City Council Committee on Social Services, Women and Children; chairperson of the City Council Committee on Youth Welfare and Sports Development; chairperson of the City Council Committee on Education, Culture, Creativity and Historical Research; chairperson of the City Council Committee on Barangay Affairs, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGGHMC) Department of Psychiatry; Office of the City Social Welfare and Development; Philippine mental Health Association – Cordillera chapter; Department of Education City Schools Division; Commission on Higher Education; Civil Service Commission – Baguio; Department of Labor and Employment; Persons with Disability Affairs Office; Baguio City Police Office – Women and Children’s Protection Desk; Baguio City Jail female and male dorms; representatives from professional organizations providing mental health care interventions and services; Philippine Nurses Association – Baguio Chapter; Psychological Association of the Philippines – Northern Luzon Chapter and Baguio-Benguet chapter of the Philippine Association of Social Workers; religious sectors; non-government organizations, among others.

The council asserted that all patients and clients of the City Health Office and all other mental health institutions in the city shall enjoy the right to confidentiality of information, among others, to avoid their situation from being compromised

The BCMHC shall be convened within 90 days from the approval of the ordinance to craft its implementing rules and regulations. – Dexter A. See