April 13, 2024

There is a need to strengthen the various mental health programs of the province to be more preventative than curative, according to Benguet Board Member Rose Fongwan-Kepes.

Speaking to health practitioners from the province during the second Stellar Health Achievement Yearly Awards 2023 or Shayaw, Kepes has urged the government health workers to find ways in crafting programs that would provide a preventive aspect of health care such as activities geared towards improving one’s mental health.

Kepes, chair of the committee on health and sanitation, said there must be more programs geared on strengthening family-ties as this provides an avenue of support for those undergoing mental health problems. 

Last month, the health committee has conducted a consultation meeting with provincial and municipal health offices, together with representatives from the Department of Education and psychologist groups in the province to discuss the initial draft of the “comprehensive mental health initiative for Benguet.”

Kepes said the proposed ordinance will be calendared next year for discussion with more public consultations especially in the 13 municipalities.

The World Health Organization said mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.

Last month, Gov. Melchor Diclas signed contracts with 45 values formation teacher or guidance associates during an orientation and contract signing ceremony held at the Capitol.

Diclas said the province and the Benguet Schools Division Office under Sally Banaken-Ullalim earlier discussed the need for guidance associates based on the current situations of schools.

“This is to help provide psychosocial support to students for their mental health,” Diclas said.

The guidance associates will be deployed to the secondary public schools in the province to teach moral and ethical core values; assist in the implementation of programs that promote character development, emphasizing virtues and ethical behavior; to provide guidance and support in the implementation of the guidance program services such as career guidance/placement service, information service, referrals, follow-up, testing, individual inventory, and psychological first aid, among others. – Ofelia C. Empian