‘Seek help for mentally ill relatives’

A CEBU-based psychologist and psychotherapist urged families to seek medical help if they have a member who is suffering from a mental health illness.

Dr. Anna Kathrina Oaminal-Watin made the reaction after a woman from Barangay Tayud, Consolacion was beheaded by her common-law husband inside their home yesterday.

Police believed Dominic Pahugot, 27, may have been suffering from a severe mental illness just before he beheaded Lovely Jane Quiño, 24.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu yesterday,
Watin said a person with mental illness often finds difficulty in coping with normal stressful situations.

But mental illness becomes severe due to some factors such as sudden changes in physical well-being, such as not eating well and lack of sleep.

Illegal drugs is also a factor for severe mental illness.

Also at risk for severe mental illness are those people with family history of mental health disorders, Watin said.

Psychological and environmental factors such as upbringing and social exposure can also contribute to mental illness, she said.

She urged families with relatives who are showing signs and symptoms of mental illness to seek medical intervention.

But Watin lamented that mental health in the country is often neglected because of several contributing factors.

Mental health services are not often available and if they are, they are not affordable.

Awareness and acceptance of mental health concerns is also a problem, Watin said.

Watin said the National Government must also look into the capability of public and private hospitals in caring for patients with physical and mental health problems.

She urged families to become lifelines for family members suffering from mental health illnesses.

“It is in the family that one should have the sense of acceptance, worth and esteem,” Watin said.

She also reminded the public that a person having a mental illness doesn’t mean that he or she is crazy.

“It is a mixture of biological, psychological and environmental factors. That’s why people should always do their best to improve their level of well-being,” she added.
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