Cebu City councilor wants mental health helplines set up
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon is urging the City Health Department (CHD) to set up mental health helplines in health facilities including the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).
Dizon said in a resolution passed by the City Council that the COVID-19 pandemic had brought much fear, stress, and anxieties and the adversity of this time that could increase risk for depression especially for the children and elderly, those living alone, those under quarantine or isolation.
He said that even medical front liners and other frontline responders and essential workers, those diagnosed with COVID-19 were also experiencing the emotional and mental toll of the pandemic.
Last year, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) saw a huge spike in the number of calls made to its hotlines since lockdowns were enforced in much of the country at the beginning of the pandemic from just 400 calls monthly to an average of over 700 calls per month from March to August 2020.
“Establishing mental health helplines in our healthcare facilities especially making these accessible 24/7 can greatly help those who are mentally and emotionally troubled on the belief that talking about your feelings will help lessen your distress and these individuals may also be needing immediate help, the assistance of referral that these helplines can provide,” said Dizon.
For Dizon, people’s mental health should receive all the support of the city government since it was as important as physical health, and developing mechanisms that would help alleviate the people’s burden during these difficult times would be of vital importance.
With this, the City Council has requested the CHD and the CCMC to establish a 24-hour mental health helpline in their facility to connect those who will be needing help especially during these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the council urged CHO and CCMC to inform all barangays through the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) of these helplines so people would be aware and might make use of these mechanisms that would be hoped to provide relief for those who were in crisis and would need to process their feelings and relieve the stress brought about by fear and anxieties.
Dizon said he hoped the CHD could set these helplines up to help people get through the emotional toil of the pandemic that had lasted for over a year now.
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