The number of people with mental health problems who roam the streets of Tagbilaran is now a safety concern for city authorities but efforts to offer aid are hampered by lack of funds and adequate facilities.
Most of these mentally ill people, estimated at 10 go untreated, are unable to work, and live a hand to mouth existence while making the sidewalks their home.
Tagbilaran City Administrator Leonides “Edi” Borja admitted the lack of facilities to care for the mentally ill persons who have been roaming freely in the city, posing dangers to themselves and motorists.
They are now a growing concern for the city that prides itself as the “city of friendship” and serves as a gateway to the various tourist destinations in the province.
The scantily clad individuals often have their bodies smeared with grease and are treated as social cases, leaving them in the hands of medically ill-equipped social workers.
The Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in Tagbilaran City lacks the facilities for the care and treatment of mentally ill persons. Other patients are referred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) through a small financial assistance from the city government, according to Borja.
Borja added that he appealed to the Department of Health which is mandated to provide the necessary care to the mentally ill.
He alsoÂ acknowledged the lack of priority funding for the establishment of facilities and qualified personnel to handle the increasing number of patients for the achievement of optimum mental health for the Boholanos.
The apparent lack of concern on the part of the government and the community has heightened the awareness of the general public on the importance of mental health as an integral part of total health care. (Chito M. Visarra)