Mandaue councilor proposes community-based mental health program

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THE Mandaue City Council passed on first reading a proposed ordinance establishing a Community-Based Mental Health Program and the delivery of Integrated Mental Health Services to help residents suffering from drugs and non-substance-related mental health issues, as well as victims of violence against women and children.

Councilor and Chairman of the Committee of Health Nerissa Soon-Ruiz authored the drafted ordinance DO 112-2022, which will be called the Mandaue City Mental Health Program of 2022.

In her proposed measure, Soon-Ruiz said she wanted to establish a comprehensive general health care approach that ensures a well-balanced mental health program and integrates mental health services into the general health and social care delivery system.

Soon-Ruiz added that the proposed ordinance aims to rationalize the function of the City Health Office (CHO) and the City Social Welfare Services (CSWS) in information dissemination, distribution of medications, and gathering data concerning mental health cases in the city.

The passage of the proposed ordinance is timely after the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic on mental health, as stress due to the quarantine and lockdown heightened the feeling of isolation and loneliness, leading to the increased risk of mental health and commission of violence against women and children.

It also mandates that government employees have mental health trainings and seminars for maintaining a harmonious workplace, and the City Government provides infrastructure and coordinates with non-government organizations advocating mental health significance.

The proposed ordinance would possibly undergo second reading in the city's next City Council regular session on August 15, 2022. (HIC)