Iloilo Province launches program to support mental health

THE Iloilo Provincial Government launched a program to promote the psychosocial well-being of Ilonggos amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Program for Resilience of Iloilo in Mind and Emotion (Prime) is part of the recovery plan of the Provincial Government.

Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said it is not only enough that the Ilonggos revive the economy but it is also important to establish a healthcare system that will build the confidence of Ilonggos to face the new normal.

"Under the modified general community quarantine, we are transitioning to the new normal. That is why we need to promote our psychosocial well-being," he said.

The program will prioritize the returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), locally stranded individuals (LSIs), frontline workers, and those experiencing shock due to changes in their regular lives.

It is anchored on six strategies such as advocacy and promotion; detection and prevention; provision of psychosocial first aid and psychosocial processing; capability-building for frontline partners and community members; monitoring and evaluation; and collaboration.

The Task Force Pagasa (Provincial Agencies in Action to Prevent Suicide Among People of all Ages) will spearhead the implementation of the project. It is chaired by the governor with the head of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) as co-chairperson.

One major component of the program is addressing the high suicide cases in the province of Iloilo.

PSWDO acting head Emma Ledesma reported that from January 1 to September 15, 2020, suicide cases totaled to 63, based on the data of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (Ippo).

In 2019, the Ippo recorded 78 suicide cases.

Majority of the victims are teenagers between 15 and 29 years old.

Defensor underscored that the youth is the most troubled sector in this pandemic. He sought the help of the Sangguniang Kabataan in addressing the issue.

Under Prime, the approach will be to "detect, isolate, and counsel."

"We will look for teenagers in need of counseling. We will identify them, isolate them, and talk to them," he said.

The Provincial Population Office also proposed a mobile application that will make the services of Prime more accessible to the public.

The app will allow users to directly relay their problems to the task force and receive faster response. (PR)


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