THE final version of a mental health ordinance will be filed at the Baguio City Council to enable counseling and eventual treatment for those suffering from the disease, said Baguio City Councilor Joel Alangsab.

Alangsab said the new measure, co-authored by Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, aims to provide counseling for those in need of medical aid and to enable them to go for treatment.

He said the effort will be a joint task by the government and private sector in the hope to curb the sharp increase of cases of mental health issues.

"We are begging these people (private centers) involved to do it in a free manner muna and I will talk with Mayor Benjamin Magalong to give finding for mental health and for our volunteers, this is an emerging need in the pandemic," Alangsab said.

Alangsab said an initial funding of P500,000 will be used by the City Health Office for capacity building, team building, and for the set up of a help hotline for those in need.

Since the community quarantine in March, there have been 14 suicides in Baguio City, making mental health a top concern in the mountain city.

In a separate move, Councilor Valdimir Cayabas, in a resolution, urged national offices of the Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to fast-track the integration of mental health education into the curriculum for all learners and earnestly monitor its implementation to ensure the realization of the purpose.

Parents or guardians seeking consultation about managing emotional distress or their children's behavioral concerns may contact SLU Sunflower Child and Youth Wellness Center at 446-5664 or 0915 541 5501.

For other mental health support services, contact the Philippine Mental Health Association Cordillera Chapter Inc. and the BGHMC Psychiatry Mental Health Support and Services through their Facebook (FB) page.

Helplines are also open in the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children, the nearest police station, or call DSWD-Cordillera at 442-7917.