LGUs urged to pass mental health ordinances amid rise in suicide cases
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) on Wednesday stressed the need for local government units (LGUs) to adopt mental health ordinances amid rising cases of suicide.
PMHA made the pronouncement after pointing out that Republic Act No. 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law faces challenges in implementation across the country.
It cited as reasons lack of funding, infrastructure, and licensed mental health professionals.
“Mental health ordinances will complement the Philippine Mental Health Law and localize response to prevent suicide, boost diagnosis and treatment of persons with mental health needs, and combat stigma,” said PMHA National Executive Director Dr. Carolina Uno-Rayco.
The emphasis on mental health is in observance of Mental Health Awareness Month in October.
PMHA said over 2,000 students were recorded to have attempted suicide in public schools, 404 of whom died in the process.
The organization is citing a Department of Education (DepEd) report for academic year 2021-2022.
Suicide reports also increased in other parts of the country, especially in rural areas of Sorsogon, Aklan, and Zamboanga.
“While the national government musters the necessary resources for the law to take its full effect, local governments must also keep a close eye and a caring hand for their constituents, ready to respond at a moment’s notice, including augmenting funds for localized services,” Uno-Rayco said.
“Our work is cut out for us. Removing barriers to mental health services through localized interventions needs commitment from everyone in the community,” the PMHA chief added.