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DOH lauds Ilocos Norte for mental health programs

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The Department of Health (DOH) has complimented the efforts of the Ilocos Norte administration for being the finest implementer of mental health initiatives in the Ilocos Region.

According to Divine Sevilla, a counselor with the “Speak Up, I’m Here” program, the province will be recognized for its efforts on December 12 at the DOH Regional Office 1 in San Fernando City, La Union.

“The accolade comes with a prize of PHP25,000 and other unexpected gifts,” she stated.

Numerous Ilocanos, especially young people, are being helped deal with psychological issues that are hurting their daily lives through the “Speak Up” campaign.

The program was launched in September 2020 in view of the alarming rate of suicide-related cases reported in the province which has increased by 31 percent compared to the same period last year.

In order to address mental health difficulties, promote positive psychological practices, strive to prevent suicide, and improve mental health conditions, among other things, the provincial government’s mental health awareness program has so far been extended to schools and various local government units.

Face-to-face consultations, the posting of mental health-related videos, symposiums, or webinars, and the launch of a 24-hour hotline service for locals seeking qualified mental guidance are among the initiatives.

At the Gov. Roque B. Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital, a mental health center was also set up to offer psychological consultations to in-patients, particularly those who tested positive for Covid-19.

In collaboration with licensed counselors across the province, a helpline was also established to increase access to and availability of mental health support services.

“Let’s provide a helpful hand while we can. Let’s look after all of those around us. Some folks are going through a difficult time right now, but there are bright days ahead. To everyone, kapit lang, kaya natin ‘to. This too shall pass,” Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc earlier said.

The DOH claimed at least 3.6 million Filipinos are battling mental health concerns amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, including depression, drug use disorders such as alcohol use disorder, and mood disorders like bipolar disorder.

A DOH study also found that one of three Covid-19 patients in the Philippines was diagnosed with a mental health condition within six months of testing positive for the disease.

Lockdowns imposed by the government to stop the virus’ spread—and the resulting social isolation—have also made underlying mental health issues worse.

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