With the passage on 3rd and final reading of the ordinance establishing a Community Based Mental Health Program in Dumaguete City, residents suffering with mental illness or disability will now be provided by the City Government with an integrated and comprehensive health care system that provides protection, interventions, treatment and other essential services.
Chiefly authored by Vice-Mayor Karissa Tolentino-Maxino and co-authored by Councilors Michael Bandal, Edgar Lentorio Jr., Bernice Anne Elmaco and SK President Renz Macion, the proposed ordinance aims to provide a consistent, rational and unified response to mental health problems through the Dumaguete City Mental Health Committee composed of health care professionals and responsible officials.
The Committee is mandated to a) Develop an inclusive and integrated plan and program on mental health; b) Review all existing laws related to mental health and recommended legislation which will sustain and strengthen programs, services and other mental health initiatives; c) Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation in support of policy formulation and planning on mental health; d) Promote an integrated approach to mental health care to prevent mental disorders through programs that strengthen the basics and (e) Perform other duties and functions necessary in carrying the purposes of this ordinance.
Section 8 of the proposed ordinance also provides for the “barangay health workers together with barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials in their respective barangays shall be equipped with the proper training, knowledge and skills on mental health, and shall be the primary implementing arm of the City in addressing mental health issues and problems of the concerned constituents.”
In pushing for the passage of the proposed ordinance the authors assert that “mental health is a growing concern among youth and that the problems on mental health contain not just the traditional mental disorders but the issues of target population, susceptible to psychosocial risks caused by extreme life experiences such as disasters, near-death experiences, heinous and violent crimes, internal displacement brought about by religious and civil unrests, as well as the psychosocial matters of daily living like preserving a sense of well-being in these complicate times.”
The newly passed ordinance establishing a community based mental health program will be presented to Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo for his approval and implementation.