May 30, 2023

The number of new cases of illnesses related to mental health in the Cordillera has been decreasing in the past years the country is under pandemic, but advocates said mental health issues should remain a concern.
The Department of Health-Cordillera reported as of Aug. 31, it has recorded 837 individuals in the region who are suffering from mental health illnesses.
The number is lower compared to the 1,538 newly diagnosed cases in 2020, where there were existing 8,017 consolidated cases.
In 2021, there were only 70 new mental health illnesses recorded, since concerned agencies then were focused on Covid-19 response and surveillance, in addition to the 1,192 cases, according to DOH-Cordillera senior healthcare officer Shamgar Douglas Mangida, Jr.
Mangida reported the mental health status of the region during the second episode of the 2022 Cordillera Regional Dagyaw which focused on health, gender and development, and education.
Schizophrenia remains the most common mental health illness, taking up 356 cases or 42 percent of the total number recorded this year, followed by depression and epilepsy. Schizophrenia was also the most common mental health illness in 2020 and 2021, based on the data from mental health access sites and rural health units.
There were also more males suffering mental health issues, with 489 out of the 837 or 58.42 percent compared to females. The same pattern has been observed since 2020 and 2021, with males making up 4,120 or 51.4 percent out of the 8,017 diagnosed consolidated cases in 2020.
Mangida said despite the trend, they consider the number significant and should be seen as an area of concern not only for the health department but also for local government units, since the data also means there is still a low level of awareness among those with mental health concerns.
“If we look at the data, we have seen a decreasing number but we should remain vigilant because this also means kokonti ang mga Cordillerans na nakakaalam kung ano ang mga services that they could avail and where to access it. It is a challenge,” Mangida said.
He also noted many among the 20 years old and above age group are suffering mental health concerns, as well as those in the adolescent group.
“There is also need to give attention and concern to the adolescent group because we noted an increase since 2020. We should find out the reasons, although we observed that social media has a big influence on their mental health, and we need to address them,” he said.
He added there is need to strengthen mental health advocacies and make mental health services more available and accessible, especially those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. – Hanna C. Lacsamana