December 2, 2022

A comprehensive mental health care and wellness system will soon be crafted as the city’s response to the “alarming cases of depression and suicides in the city and neighboring municipalities,” Councilor Joel Alangsab said on Feb. 22.
Alangsab said Mayor Benjamin Magalong is poised to sign an ordinance which the councilor co-authored with Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales to establish a mental health program that aims, among others, to provide cheap if not free medicines and access to amenities to the affected sector.
Records from the City Health Services Office showed the city had 30 suicide cases in 2020 and 28 in 2019. Both figures were almost double the 16 cases in 2018.
This year, two cases had already been recorded.
“We had 14 confirmed cases of suicide from January to August 2020 alone; 12 adults and two minors. One case involved a 64-year-old man who believed he had contracted Covid-19 but was found negative,” Alangsab said, adding two cases involved a prominent person and a youth leader.
He said through the ordinance, the city government wants people with mental problems to know that they are not helpless.
The measure, which the city council approved on final reading, is one of the few statutes of such kind enacted in the country pursuant to the Mental Health Act.
Under the measure, a Baguio Mental Health Council will be created to serve as the advisory body to the city council and as a policymaking body for the crafting of a comprehensive mental health care and wellness system.
The ordinance is for the protection and promotion of the right to health of the people and to be given sufficient, adequate, proper, and timely mental illness prevention and treatment and to maintain the psychiatric, neurologic and psychological, and mental stability of citizens.
It will apply to all persons, regardless of age, sex, religion, and such other distinctions, who are in need of psychiatric, neurologic, and psycho-social health services. – Aileen P. Refuerzo