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Health, Social Services cmtes keep dealing with alarming mental health issues

Both the City Council Committees on Health, Nutrition, and Health Insurance, and Social Services respectively chaired by Councilors Maria Lourdes S. Gaane and Joyleen Mercedes L. Balaba, continue to address the alarming increase of suicide cases in the city. This is in connection to the special report of Councilor James Judith II during the regular session a few weeks ago about the spate of suicides at the Maharlika Bridge.

Councilor Gaane requested the CSWD’s recommendation on issues or problems related to the rising mental health cases in the city. Ms. Anecia C. Tongson of the City Social Welfare and Development Department (CSWD) said that the CSWD Psychosocial Unit is conducting a series of collaborative meetings with concerned agencies and various barangays. She said that City Mayor Rolando A. Uy expanded the existing mental helpline services of the said unit by hiring more employees to address psychological first aid.

The city is also strengthening its efforts by conducting training for City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) employees, teachers, guidance counselors, barangay tanods, and youth volunteers on the warning signs and symptoms of depression to prevent suicide attempts.

On the concern of Councilor Jose Pepe Abbu regarding the city having a psychiatrist, Tongson said that the city does not have a psychiatrist as of now, but Dr. Jaymee Leonen-Pagaspas, a psychologist, spearheads the Psychosocial Unit.

The Psychosocial Unit is tasked with providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) to calamity victims, conducting orientation about mental health in the barangays and other institutions that need their expertise on mental health issues, providing psychosocial intervention for the residents of CSWD shelter facilities, and attending to mental helpline clients.

The CSWD vowed to collaborate with the City Council to address the alarming issue and develop comprehensive strategies and initiatives to prevent suicide and promote mental health in the community.


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