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DOH to set up regional mental-health council in Calabarzon

THE Department of Health in the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (Calabarzon) region has laid plans for the creation of a regional mental- health council (RMHC) that will provide sustainability to the mental-health program of the region.

Calabarzon Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said this in his message during the second Mental Health Summit for Calabarzon held in Quezon City last October 17.

This program was unheard of before and only a small percentage was given to health care, Janairo said in Filipino. “Mental health is just as important to our physical health as it is interconnected. Mental health is very important at every stage of life: from childhood to adolescence and through adulthood.”

DOH-Calabarzon will be the third region to have a RMHC. The first was established in Region 5 even before the mental-health law was signed and the second was in Region 8.

When an area has an active mental-health program, it is able to provide enough attention and mental-health needs to its constituents, Janairo said. But he said that if you lose the program manager and the leader who implements it, the program loses.

Janairo said this is where the creation of a RMHC comes in and ensure the sustainability and continuity of the program.

He said the RMHC will set the standard so that we can refer patients, help, support and care not just for their daily, but their lifelong needs.

We often see there is no support in the mental-health program, according to Janairo. Now we are putting it into our regional budget and this funding is temporary, he added.

Janairo said budget for mental-health needs to be increased so that all the support and needs of the patient can be provided.

“Like medicines, there is no sustainability in them. No one goes to the communities to care for the people who need help there. In schools, while children are often hit by vehicles on the highway, they are the ones we should focus on and give mental-health counseling.”

Janairo said the first step in creating the RMHC is to create a database “to find out how many people have mental-health problems in the region.”

“And once we evaluate them, we can plan and allocate funds so that we can implement the program throughout Calabarzon.”

Chapter 8 of the Republic Act 11036, or the Philippine mental health law, mandates for the establishment of a mental-health council that will be the policy-making, planning, coordinating and advisory body to oversee the implementation of the law.

Members of the mental health council will come from six government agencies, three from civil/society and three from the private organizations.

The council will also provide for the protection of rights and freedom of persons with psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial needs, and the delivery of mental-health services in the community.

Mental health includes a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences our actions, how we feel and think, and it also helps us control and handle stress, communicate to other persons and make choices.

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