A city councilor is hopeful that a new mental health institution will soon be established in the city.
Proponent Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, committee chair on health, said the City Council is set to pass on final reading the measure in tomorrow’s regular City Council session.
“We are close to that moment when these mentally challenged people won’t have to suffer or sleep in the streets and left untreated,” she added.
Villafuerte said Mayor Sara Duterte mentioned the planned institution during the State of the City Address (SOCA) in 2019.
“I have proposed this to the mayor, I guess almost or more than a year already, to really build a mental health institution for those mentally disabled people walking in the street,” Villafuerte said.
The councilor, a physician by profession, lamented that those with mental health condition brought to the mental hospital “cannot be treated immediately because they have no guardians.”
“These people who do not have guardians or relatives with them cannot be accommodated at the Southern Medical Philippines Center Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Medicine (SPMC-IPBM) as it is a requirement for them to have guardians, at least, to receive treatment,” she said.
“Since these people have no parents or guardian, and cannot be admitted at SPMC-IPBM, the local government will be serving as a guardian for these people. We will be treating them,” she said.
One of the buildings in the proposed mental health institution will solely for those mentally challenged individuals who don’t have any relative or family.
She said there will also be an outpatient department for those who need counseling services.
The councilor said the counseling services will be for patients with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
“This free counseling is open to anyone. Those who will be taking board exams or certain examinations may be experiencing anxiety or severe stress, they can approach and avail this service. And people who wants someone to talk to because they feel depressed, they are welcome to come,” she said.
Villafuerte said they will be hiring psychologists, psychometricians, and psychiatrists as personnel to the mental health institution.
The proposed institution will be established inside the compound of the SPMC-IPBM but will be operated by the local government.
The City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) will be the lead agency upon the implementation of the center. It will also be run by the Mental Health Unit of the City Health Office (CHO).
The center is expected to be constructed this year, with a ready allocation of P23 million.