Task force focusing on mental health ordered
Mayor Benjamin Magalong ordered the creation of a task force to implement mental health advocacies and strategic programs in hopes of addressing mental health issues that led to the increase of suicide cases in the city.
The task force will be led by the City Health Services Office with the guidance counselors of the Department of Education, mental health advocates, and the Baguio City Police Office.
It will serve as the implementing arm of the Baguio City Mental Health Council which is the policy-making body also led by the CHSO.
The mayor wanted a holistic and proactive approach in addressing mental health problems not only focused among teens but encompassing all ages and gender.
The mayor said he was no stranger to the mental health problem, having experienced the phase of guiding and protecting a family member who suffered from a depressive disorder.
“Malapit ang loob ko sa mental health issues kasi alam ko ang hirap at sakripisyo na kaakibat upang mapagwagian ang ganitong problema. We need to be patient and expand our understanding for our family members undergoing this illness. It’s the only way we can win,” Magalong said.
The mayor tasked the BCPO to help the CHSO in surveying the areas where suicide cases commonly occurred tracing back to 2017 using their Geographic Information System and the Crime Information Reporting and Analysis System.
“I want to understand the characteristics of these places so we can come up with better solutions. We might need to do structural redesigning of our facilities,” the mayor said.
Already rolling are capacity building activities to strengthen peer counseling programs especially for academe as well as information, education and communication campaigns to address mental health concerns, among others.
The helplines to call in case of emergency are CHSO – 0919-069-6361; Mental Health and Wellness Unit – (074) 661-7910; Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Psychiatric Department – 0919-207-0736; Benguet General Hospital and Medical Center Psychiatric Department – 0917-899-8727, 0966-351-4518, and 0908-639-2672; National Center for Mental Health – 0995-093-2679 and 0918-402-9832; Philippine Mental Health Association Cordillera Chapter Inc. – 0917-517-2083 and (074) 442 2337.
Also, the city government’s 911 hotline is available to call 24 hours a day in case of emergency. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan