The local government of Quezon City, through its health department, has started gathering data on mental-health cases in the entire city to improve its database and eventually gather a clearer picture of the extent of the disease among its residents.
According to City Health Officer Dr. Verdades Linga, her office is in close coordination with the Philippine Mental Health Association and hospitals on the matter, and is hoping the project would strengthen the city’s community-based mental-health program immediately.
“We have already trained our health workers so they can identify minor mental-health problems, not necessarily illness. More or less we can refer them [to experts],” Linga said on Tuesday, adding “this is what we call as service-delivery network that the Quezon City Health Department is constructing. So when it comes to data on youth having depression, for instance, we would right away know what to do immediately.”
The public health official also said that they segregate the data they cull from statistics based on group and age.
Linga admitted that the problem in treating patients with mental illnesses in hospitals or in the community is the continued care. “That is why Mayor Herbert Bautista instructed us to study the cases of mental health and know how the Quezon City government can help like in adolescent health.”Linga also expressed her support to Senate Bill 1354 that is making mental-health services accessible, affordable and equitable, or the Mental Health Act of 2017 that is now in its third reading.
In October University of the Philippines College of Medicine Professor Emeritus Dr. Lourdes Ignacio said that 1 in every 3 Filipinos has a mental-health problem.
Ignacio made the announcement at the gathering of the National Academy of Science and Technology, where she was conferred the Award for Medical Research 2017. She explained that with the country’s population hitting the 110 million mark, the number of Filipinos who have mental problems could reach 28.48 million.
The local psychiatrist said she made this estimate from a population survey conducted by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital in Western Visayas two decades ago, which found 36 percent of the population to have mental-health problems.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City Health Department has also conducted its second Adolescent Health Summit with high-school students attending at the Quezon City Experience Museum in Quezon Memorial Circle on Monday.
This year’s summit aims to inform teenagers of the various adolescent health programs of the city government. According to Linga, among the health programs for teens include nutrition, oral, mental, adolescent and maternal health, including the health risks brought about by smoking, drugs and substance abuse.
“We invited the schools just like last year to attend the second Adolescent Health Summit today, so more or less we can integrate this as part of their knowledge,” Linga said. In line with the public health modernization program of Bautista, the city government has constructed a teen health quarters in the Second District of Quezon City for school-based and out-of-school youth.