May 27, 2024

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DOH – Ilocos commits to support the 2024-2028 PCMH strategic framework

Participants and guest with DOH Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa during the launching of the Philippine Council for Mental Health (PCMH) Strategic Framework 2024-2028 held at Rizal Park Hotel Hotel, Manila on October 12, 2023

Department of Health (DOH) – Ilocos Region led by Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco, as one of the guests during the launching, expressed commitment to the 2024-2028 Philippine Council for Mental Health (PCMH) Strategic Framework to guide the development and implementation of mental health policies, programs, and services in order to address the growing concerns of mental illness and improve mental health and well-being in the country held today at Rizal Park Hotel, Manila. 

“The Center for Health – Ilocos Region supports this initiative and commits to formulate and implement plans and strategies in improving access to mental health services for patients and gradually reducing mental health cases in the region.” 

“We are regularly conducting advocacies on mental health awareness and stress management seminars to both public and private sectors to help identify mental health cases, prevent suicide incidences and improve mental health conditions and an online platform the “Tara Usap Tayo Hotline” for those wanting to be heard,” Sydiongco stated. 

Among the activities being conducted for mental health includes training of BHWs on mental health and psychosocial support for response on disasters and emergencies and mental health GAP action program to cater the mental health needs of people at the primary level plus  face-to-face consultations, uploading videos on mental health for information, symposia or webinars and a helpline to make mental health support services more accessible and available was also launched, in partnership with certified counseling professionals across the province. 

Other mental health activities conducted, led by the mental health regional unit were  school advocacies to raise awareness and fight stigma on mental health; suicide prevention trainings and advocacies in partnership with the National Center for Mental Health; quarterly conduct of meetings with LGU mental health focal persons; and continuous augmentation of psychiatric drugs and medicines to LGUs and to any other agencies in need. 

Sydiongco added that to regional office has launched the “Lusog Isip Caravan” that will visit all the provinces to intensify advocacy activities of the various health programs interrelated to mental health. 

“This is also to encourage the public to practice the seven healthy habits including “move more, eat right; be clean live sustainably; get vaccinated; don’t smoke, avoid alcohol, say no to drugs, care for yourself, care for others; practice safe sex; do no harm, put safety first which greatly affect an individual’s mental health and well-being,” she emphasized. 

According to Health Emergency Alert Reporting System (HEARS), Ilocos region recorded a total of 34 mental health-related deaths from January 1, 2023 to August 31, 2023 compared to 60 cases recorded with the same period last year with Ilocos Norte having the highest number of cases with 14 cases compared to last year’s 15 followed by Ilocos Sur with 11  as contrast to 18 cases for 2022, La Union with 9 compared with 13 cases for 2022 and zero case for Pangasinan who recorded 14 cases for 2022. Age of cases range from 19 to 60 years old. Most cases were male with 40 while 4 were female and had issues on family, financial, and health. 

In 2021, a total of 100 cases were recorded. 

Among the top psychiatric cases in the region are psychosis, child and adolescent mental and behavioral disorder, and other significant mental health complaints including anxiety, depression, and epilepsy. 

The five-year strategic plan is line with the Health Sector’s 8-Point Action Agenda Para sa Healthy Pilipinas – “Ginhawa ng Isip at Damdamin,” which aims to reduce premature mortality, prevent and treat substance abuse effectively, and reduce the vulnerability of individuals and communities to mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.