Davao approves mental health ordinance

File photo

THE Davao City Council on Tuesday, March 12, approved an ordinance providing for a mental health program and delivery system in the city.

The Mental Health Code of Davao provides for an integrated and comprehensive approach to the development of the City Mental Health Care Program and Delivery System to deliver appropriate services and interventions including provision of mental health protection, care, treatment and other essential services to those with mental illness or disability.

Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, committee on health chairperson and proponent of the ordinance, said in her speech that “there is a need to include the mental health in the public health and hospital system in order to render available, accessible, affordable, and equitable quality mental health care and services to the constituents of the city especially the poor, the underserved and high risk populations.”

Villafuerte said the ordinance will also create a mental health division to facilitate the implementation.

“We need a psychiatrist to head this division: three psychologists, preferably with masters training; three mental health nurses; and three mental health social workers to set up the divisions,” she said in an interview.

Prior to its passage, Villafuerte said that Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio pledged to donate initially P5 million for the construction of the mental health facility within the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). She said that they will be seeking additional funding if needed.

She cited the rising number of youth suffering from depression.

“We have a mall that became famous because of suicides by young people. And as a psychology major there hasn’t been much focus when it comes to mental health,” Villafuerte said.

The lady councilor assured that the ordinance will be implemented because the doctors and physicians in the city were already trained by the Department of Health (DOH).


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