The Camillian Fathers, a Catholic congregation that serves the sick, calls on the public not to ignore mental health issues.
The patron of the order is St. Camillus de Lellis, the patron of the sick, health professionals and hospitals.
“In the Philippines, the stigma on mental health issues is still present. Unlike other regions, like Europe, if one is sad or feels a vacuum within himself or herself, they will automatically consult a psychiatrist for counseling,” said Fr. Rodel Enriquez, vicar provincial of the Camillian Philippine Province, during the press conference in line with the visit of the heart relic of St. Camillus de Lellis.
Enriquez noted that technology may have affected the connection among members of society that leads to the stigma.
“This is a lesson to each one of us, that in the modern world with the advent of technology, we have already lost our connection to each other. We all need someone to guide us and listen to us,” he said. “This is the challenge to everyone to go back to being listeners.”
He also called the public to “to find ways to have people who are expert in helping people go out of this vacuum of depression and anxiety,” noting that this is a serious problem already of the current times.
“Everyday, we hear young people who think about and even commit suicide. We call them not to make (depression) a dead end. Seek help from priests, counselors or psychiatrists because that is something that they could help with,” Enriquez said.
Enriquez announced that the Camillian Fathers have chaplaincies available for counseling.
“With the call of awareness on mental health, we also refer for counseling. It is really a high time for the church to focus on this. Our chaplaincy centers serve as a center for counseling for those who are depressed to have somebody to listen to them,” Enriquez said.
In Davao, the chaplaincies are located in the Southern Philippine Medical Center, J.P. Laurel Ave., Bajada and at San Pedro Hospital of Davao Inc., C. Guzman St.
On March 12, the City Council finally approved the Mental Health Code of Davao City, which seeks to “deliver appropriate services and interventions including provisions of mental health protection, care, treatment, and other essential services to those with mental illness or disability.”