Over the past week, the issue on how to keep our brethren with serious mental disorders off the streets has filled the airwaves. Upon interview, the city DSWD rightly admitted that they do not have the know-how and expertise to treat such a problem. More importantly, they also do not have the facility to house these people.
I remember I wrote a couple of years ago that it is high time for the city, or the province for that matter, to erect a mental health facility. I am elated that the city is building the Paglaum, a rehabilitation house for youth offenders. At least this is a first step. I just hope that the building will be complemented by a sound and comprehensive rehabilitation program and a competent staff.
Indeed itâ€™s a pity that we do not have a mental health facility here. I believe that it is about time someone erects an institution for those who need these particular services. We have several advantages over other places like Cebu or Manila. And I believe we are ready for such.
First, we are a nature laden island compared with big cities. Our air is crisp and fresh, our skies are blue, and our seas are clear. What else can be more healing than that? Second, we are accessible. We can be reached by plane or boat. And so, it is not difficult for other neighboring provinces to avail of this mental health facility.
Third, we have advanced hospitals and topnotch doctors. Collaboration with them would be easy and advantageous. And of course there would be no need to go the extra mile and pay the extra price. And lastly, information dissemination about mental health will now become institutionalized and more available to the general public, courtesy of this new mental health institution.
Indeed, there is so much to know about our state of minds. But sadly, it is not given as much importance vis-Ã -vis other diseases. Go to a Barangay clinic and ask them about mental health and chances are, they would not know anything. But for other problems, there are ready services.
Our knowledge about mental health should go beyond stress management and the like. It should also include information on how to detect symptoms and even the etiology of mental disorders so that we are able to consult or refer immediately to a mental health professional anyone who manifests them before it becomes full-blown.
And when anyone gets the disorder, proper treatment is necessitated. Most mental health disorders are highly treatable. A combination of medical and psychosocial program will enable the sufferer to understand the condition and manage the symptoms.
And the only way to do this is to establish an institution where appropriate treatment can be availed. Such institution will also be tasked to conceptualize a program that is both inclusive and expansive. It is important that the government spearheads this with the support of the private sector. Otherwise, it is bound to fail.
P.S. I am inviting all youths and young people to attend the Live Pure Conference on Nov. 22, 2015 at the Bohol Wisdom School Gym from 9:00 am to 3:00 p.m. Gather your friends and enjoy the Happiness Effect. Registration is only P50. For more inquiries, you can text me at 09177201218 or see Girlie Yap at the City Pharmacy, BQ branch. (By Kit Nemenzo Balane)