Mental health helpline open

BAGUIO CITY – A 24-hour helpline for mental health and those needing it most, was aptly provided by the local government unit and is currently maintained by the Health Services Office (HSO).

The mental health helpline number is 0919-069-6361, according to HSO Mental health coordinator Ricky Ducas who was guest last week at city hall’s Ugnayan media forum. Individuals needing help or who may be planning self-inflicted harm could access the line for immediate assistance or referral to the proper professional or groups. 

According to Ducas, mental health as to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a balance of one’s physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspect, wherein one factor being absent comes the need to fill in the gap.

There is also a fervent need to acquire coping mechanisms and the ability to adapt to given situations specially during these trying times, he added. 

The presently felt Covid-19 pandemic acted as a trigger for mental ill-health which manifested through anxiety and uncertainties, including self-harm or plans to do so, Ducas said.

In 2020, there were thirty (30) reported suicide cases, with 25 males and 5 females. Equally alarming is the data of having 11 completed suicides for the first quarter of 2021, majority of whom are young adults, Ducas informed last week’s media audience.   

  Ducas clarified that mental disorders may be due to biological factors, trauma, exposure to harmful substances or other causes. Proper diagnosis may deem medical intervention or maintenance medicines may be prescribed, of for those needing more intensive treatment, referral to medical facilities may be done. 

Ducas also announced that free psychiatric, neurologic consultation and psychological assessment for qualified indigent clients is conducted at the HSO with free medicines provided by benevolent sponsors. The endeavor is conducted at the Room 4, fourth floor, HSO, T. Alonzo road, with volunteer professionals, Ducas said. Text messages or calls to 0938-626-0724 as to mental health would be entertained, clients complying with  dress codes, health protocols, and consultation schedules.     

Eighty (80) individuals were served in the mental health office: 18 in psychological assessment; 21 in psychiatric; 3 in neurology and 38 nurse-assessed. In the near future, psycho-social support shall be accorded to Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs), in schools, barangays and different agencies, Ducas said.

Extended services through the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) may be conducted in collaboration with HSO’s population education unit, as young adults are receptive of said IEC, Ducas said. Sports as a diversion from anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation may also help; but more so with a visit to an allied professional, Ducas further said.

As to queries on recovered Covid-19 patients exhibiting mental illness or other difficulties, Ducas recommended professional help or counselling, and family support as trauma and anxiety due to isolation or quarantine may have triggered undiagnosed situations.

Depression, anxiety, distressed and suicidal feelings must be expressed and analyzed, Ducas said. It would help to break down the complex pieces to smaller components in order to understand them; “Mental illness does not have a face and if you can’t help them (people who have it), then don’t hurt them,” he ended. –juliegfianza