DOH starts nationwide caravan in Bicol to step up mental health drive

The Department of Health (DOH) is strengthening its programs to help people with mental health problems through the provision of various interventions such as establishing access sites for its services and giving free medicines. The agency on Wednesday launched its "Biyaheng Kalusugan: Mental Health Caravan" at Sorsogon State University, Sorsogon City, where DOH Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire underscored the importance of adopting healthy mental well-being and behaviors and teaching this to everyone, especially the young adults. She said the caravan which carried the theme 'Make Mental Health and Well-being a Global Priority' will also be brought to other regions in the country. Vergeire said the health agency is traveling to different regions in the country to provide quality and affordable healthcare services, including mental health interventions to every Filipino. "Today runs specifically to put mental health in the forefront, gusto namin sikat si mental health. Sa bawat lugar sa Pilipinas, sa bawat puso ng ating mga kababayan naiisip nila na yung mental health issues ay kayang kaya ng tugunan ng ating gobyerno, kasama ng ating local government units (we want mental health to be popular. In every place in the Philippines, in the hearts of our countrymen, they think that mental health issues can be addressed by our government, along with our local government units)," she said. Vergeire also mentioned the Seven Healthy Habits as part of DOH's Health Promotion Framework Strategy 2021 to 2030, which serves as a basis for population-wide solutions to the seven priority areas of health. These habits are: Move more, eat right; Be clean, live sustainably; Get vaccinated; Don't Smoke, avoid alcohol, say no to drugs; Care for yourself, care for others; Practice Safe Sex; and Do no harm, put safety first. The DOH official also said they will launch a Community-Based Mental Health Program as an integrated and comprehensive approach to delivering appropriate services to promote mental health in the villages and provide related services. "Meron na rin po tayong mga na-train in mental health and psycho-social support. We can manage mental health issues in the communities by giving information and training our healthcare workers on the ground. Isasama natin ang Sorosgon City dito sa pilot sites natin para maumpisahan po natin dito sa inyong lugar itong pagpapatupad ng Community-Based Mental Health Program (We also have people trained in mental health and psycho-social support. We can manage mental health issues in the communities by giving information and training our healthcare workers on the ground. We will include Sorsogon City as a pilot site to start implementing the Community-Based Mental Health Program here in your area," she said. Vergeire said DOH has known access sites for mental health care services nationwide. "Meron na din po tayong mga gamot na binibigay na libre para po sa ating mga kababayan (We also have medicines that are given free for us countrymen). Last year we were able to serve 161,000 service users, we also established 75 additional mental health facilities," she said. "The DOH also allocated enough budget to procure medicine for the public with mental health issues and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation has now a benefit package for mental health," Vergeire said. Kristine Mañago, a 19-year-old student who attended the launching of the caravan, said the mental health program is very helpful for young adults like her. "It is very good especially since I have friends who struggle with their mental health. This is very important for us," she said.

Source: Philippines News Agency