The Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc. (PMHAI)-Palawan Chapter is seeking to include mental health in the social and economic recovery plan of the city government.
Rev. Fr. Eugene Elivera, chair of the PMHAI local chapter, said they have formalized their request through a letter sent on May 7.
“Ang ating nila-lobby ay maging part ang mental health ng recovery program ng mga local government units (LGUs). May mga LGU na rin sa province na nakipag-ugnayan kung paanong gagawin,” Fr. Elivera said.
“And even beyond COVID-19. Alam naman natin na kahit wala pa krisis, bago pa mag-COVID-19, marami nang cases ng mental depression sa Palawan. Ma-institutionalize sa society, sa gobyerno ang pagkalinga sa mental health,” Elivera added.
He said that the mental health issue is also an emergency that needs an immediate attention.
“Kasi ang focus natin ngayon ay pagkain pero after ng pagkain, ano na? May susunod pa ba na pagkain, may trabaho pa ba, may negosyo pa ba? Kaya emergency talaga ito, naka-provide ng pagkain pero hanggang kailan,” he said.
PMHAI-Palawan stated that the local chapter is planning to conduct mental health related interventions, online counseling and outreach to frontliners.
The local chapter is requesting for a space as office or counseling center “which could be a big help to conduct such activities and for upcoming consultations”.
The local chapter of PMHAI eyes the strengthen of awareness campaign as future effort for the mental health program to inform the public that there are hotlines or counselors that they could tap whenever they need help.
“Actually meron tayong online counseling, meron din tayong facebook page ganon. Maganda itong panimulain para sa mental health association, we take this opportunity para maging aware ang mga tao na need talaga ng care para sa ating mental health,” he said.
Elivera said that everyone must break the stigma and treat mental health as a health issue that also needs the care and attention.
He said that Palaweños should be aware that there is now a local chapter of PMHAI in Palawan that promoted an advocacy of taking care of everyone’s mental health.
“Unang-una ay we need to break the stigma na kung meron tayong iniisip ay huwag tayo mahiya o matakot na sabihin ito. Ikalawa, dapat ay aware na ang mga tao na meron na rin na grupo na nag-a-advocate ng tungkol sa mental health,” he said.
The PMHAI- Palawan has met with city council’s chair on committee on health and sanitation to finalize and discuss the plans for the mental health services in Puerto Princesa on January 15.