THE Davao City Government has formally inaugurated the Mental Wellness Center for Homeless on Friday, January 21, 2022.

According to a press statement from the Davao City Information Office, the P26-million worth mental wellness center is located at Southern Philippines Medical Center-Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicines (SPMC-IPBM) Compound on Claveria Street, Poblacion District.

This building, which started construction in February 2021, not only serves as a facility for mentally challenged homeless individuals but also as an outpatient counseling service center.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in her speech that the center will help safeguard the emotional and psychological well-being of homeless people, who are at higher risk of getting mental illnesses as they struggle to get through the day in the streets.

“The establishment of the Davao City Mental Health Center for the homeless is a welcome initiative of the local government not only to provide a comfortable refuge for our homeless and mentally ill residents but also to address the stigma surrounding mental health and raise awareness in the community,” Duterte-Carpio said.

She is hopeful that the initiative will inspire everyone to support each other in finding ways to overcome difficulties, maintaining a healthy well-being, and promoting the importance of mental health.

Meanwhile, Dr. Annaliza Malubay, center head of the Mental Wellness Center for Homeless Building, said the establishment of the center is the first of its kind in the country.

“This facility was created because our local government saw the need for a shelter that caters to those psychotic vagrants or sa mga mentally challenged na latagaw, especially during the pandemic. Although our city has existing shelters for the homeless we cannot just integrate our clients with them because of their special needs and kining mga special needs nila mao ang gihatagan ug pagtagad sa atong local government,” Malubay said.

(The facility was created because our local government saw the need for a shelter that caters to those psychotic vagrants or the mentally challenged in the streets, especially during the pandemic. Although our city has existing shelters for the homeless, we cannot just integrate our clients with them because of their special needs, and these special needs are what the local government is giving focus on.)

Malubay said providing shelter is not enough, adding they need holistic care.

“We have to give more than we have to make them feel safe and protected. We have to provide holistic care,” the center head said.

She added that being assigned to the facility is an eye-opener for mental illness as the most neglected health problem.

“Hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to establish livelihood programs and other services both medical and non-medical that can benefit not only admitted clients but also outpatients,” Malubay said. (With CIO)