December 6, 2022

In its ongoing program to ease mental health especially in this pandemic, La Trinidad, Benguet has engaged the youth in normalizing mental health talks among their peers.
Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Apolinario Bagano Jr. said the program aims to increase the awareness of the youth on how to handle mental health problems.
The municipality in partnership with the Kings College of the Philippines recently organized the first “Psychological First Aid and Peer Facilitation” on March 11 attended by various SK and other youth leaders in the capital town. 
“The program aims to normalize discussions on mental health and to help provide possible solutions to this growing problem that the youth are experiencing,” Bagano said.
Around 54 youths, aged 18 to 24 years old, have participated in the inaugural program that would capacitate the participants on handling mental health issues.
“The participants will facilitate the next psychological first aid activity; they will be able to cater to people who will need assistance on mental health and be the bridge of the community to the different agencies or offices who can provide professional help,” he said.
Bagano said they hope the program is a starting point to eventually normalize mental health discussions in the community since each youth is equipped to deal with fellow young people in need.
The stigma on mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are still prevalent in the municipality.  
Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan said the municipality is in coordinating with various schools and institutions in coming up with programs and activities on mental health discussions.
Recently, La Trinidad has organized mental health talks for parents and teachers at the Balili Elementary School.
Awingan said the municipal social welfare and development office was tasked to create a core group that will act as a referral system.
“The system is to ‘look, listen, and link’ you listen to what the person is saying and later on you must later link that person to the appropriate agency,” Awingan said.
The municipality has also put up the La Trinidad Suicide Prevention hotline with contact persons Cristina Anioay at 0910-343-6595 or May Claire Jimenez at 0917- 859-2657.
Awingan said there are already individuals being served through the hotline who are receiving the appropriate assistance they needed. – Ofelia C. Empian