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Editorial | Promoting mental health

The world marked Mental Health Day yesterday, with the city committing to provide better mental health services and facilities to Davaoeños. The city has passed a law on Mental Health last March, creating a mental health division and a Mental Wellness Center to cater to those needing close monitoring or shelter to meet the mental health needs of Davaoenos.

When we talk of mental health, we do not only talk of the many homeless persons with mental health problems walking in the streets. Mental health cuts across sectors and economic class, a silent but prevalent health issue that we have to confront. Those suffering from mental health issues find it difficult to reach out due to the stigma associated with mental health.

The World Health Organization, is concerned about suicide as a public health problem. It estimates that 800,000 people globally lose their life to suicide every year or around one person for every 40 seconds. Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director for South East Asia, said this is the world’s most affected region, accounting for 39% of global suicide mortality. Suicide, Dr. Singh said, is the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29, with people of all ages vulnerable.

Mental health issues, especially among young people who are deluged with so much stress from the environment they are in, suffer and retreat from the world. Reaching out to these distressed youth for proper intervention remains a concern for parents and mental health professionals. We don’t have the numbers but we are certain many suffer from the condition quietly.

In the city, the Mental Health Code of Davao City has been passed and the implementation of the Mental Wellness Center is in the pipeline with and approved budget allocation of P23 million. The local ordinance puts in place an integrated and comprehensive approach on the development of the City Mental Health Care Program and Delivery System. Among its services and interventions include provision of mental health protection, care, treatment, and other essential services to people suffering from mental illness or disability.

Psychotic vagrants, the men and women we see on the streets, will be the first in line to avail of the services of the center.
Mental health is a major part of a person’s well-being. Living a balanced life is the most sought after ideal in today’s world.

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