From the town’s central district to its most remote village, the local government unit (LGU) of Lila has started to scour the municipality for residents possibly suffering from mental health illness to provide them with free diagnosis and medication.
According to Dr. Kring Jabonillo, officer-in-charge of the Lila Rural Health Unit, they started to create profiles for those identified to show symptoms of mental illness. The identified patients will be issued health cards making them eligible to avail of free medication through the RHU.
So far, the town’s health authorities have identified 30 individuals, most of whom aged between 30 and 60, as mental health patients through reports from residents and by revisiting those who have previously sought for medical assistance. More are expected to be included in the program.
“Kadtong wa pa ma-apil, gipangita pa to namo kay ongoing pa ang among profiling,” Jabonillo said.
“Among gisuyod tong hasta mga kasuokan na lugar kay naay uban taga Lila na ipang priso or ipang gaid lang kay tungod mahadlok ang tagtungod na mawala or magsuroy-suroy sila,” she added.
The medication for beneficiaries of the program are being procured by the LGU through its own fund and from the Provincial Health Office and the Department of Health.
Diagnosis and treatment plans are done through a partnership with Dr. Joy Bueno, a resident psychiatrist of the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City.
First-term Lila Mayor Arturo Piollo said that mental health care is among the priorities of his administration.
His focus on the issue was sparked by the reported spike in suicide cases in Bohol last year which alarmed both the provincial government and local leaders of the Catholic Church.
“Kining mental health care sa Lila this is one of the issues na akong gihatagan og pagtagad under this administration because we have seen the ill effects of kanining mga separations, kaning mga batan-on na naghikog, mao ni ang nagpaaghat kanato,” he said.
The small, fifth-class municipality raised its budget for mental healthcare by more than threefold from P20,000 in 2019 to P65,000 this year.
According to Jabonillo, they are also seeking to partner with non-governmental organizations (NGO) to increase funding and support for the program.
“Naa tay plans to outsource and ask for support sa mga NGOs, so on the process pa og pangita kung kinsa ang pwede e-tap,” said Jabonillo.
Since mid-2019, the government and various sectors including the Catholic Church have expressed concern over the spate of suicide cases in the province.
The incidences sparked a widespread drive to promote mental health awareness, giving birth to organizations like Project Bohol: Mental Health Awareness, a non-professional mental health organization and Pagpakabuhi (Paghatag og Pagtagad sa Kabililhon sa Kinabuhi) Center, a volunteer-run institution in Baclayon which offers free mental health care.
Media reports on suicide cases have dwindled in the past months as mental health awareness groups requested for minimized coverage on such incidents. The reports raised alarm from the government, health authorities and medical practitioners prompting them to take action to address the issue.
The alarm appeared to have subsided as well along with the reports, but in the first nine days of 2020 alone, two people died in apparent suicide cases in two Bohol towns according to police.
On Monday, a police officer who was believed to have been suffering from a mental health condition allegedly shot his wife dead before critically shooting himself in the head in an apparent murder-suicide attempt in Tubigon. (with A. Doydora)