THE Baguio City Health Services Office (CHSO) is going “all-out” to combat the increasingly concerning state of mental health in the city amid a rise in suicide and mental illness, Ricky Ducas, mental health coordinator of the CHSO said on Wednesday.
“We are going all out with our mental health awareness and psycho-education because the number of suicide cases we have is alarming, as well as the generalized anxiety that the people are feeling,” Ducas said.
As of May, 19 suicides have been recorded in the city, compared to 24 from the entirety of the previous year. The ages of the victims range from 15 to 70+, according to Ducas, with 16 of the cases being male and three being female.
Citing the ongoing battle against mental illness and suicide in the city, Ducas said that the CHSO is intensifying its attempts at psycho-education at the grassroots level in the barangays in coordination with barangay officials, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), and the office of Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales.
At the same time, he reminded the public that the CHSO provides weekly consultation and assessment for mental health that locals can avail of to be provided appropriate assistance and help.
“Once it has been assessed that they should be linked and it is an emergency, we link them immediately with the BGHMC psychiatry department,” Ducas said.
He added that the CHSO has partnered with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) has been tapped for a partnership to provide psychological first aid to the families of suicide victimes.
Additionally, Ducas said that the CHSO is conducting workshops for teachers and guidance counselors of schools in the city to provide a standardized method of assessing and handling mental health concerns among students, who he said are more susceptible to mental illness now under lockdown than before.
“We all know that the developmental milestone of children at this age is belongingness. They want to belong to a group, but right now they are deprived from doing so because we are all under limited movement. Approval and love and affection that they want is no longer from the families. They are now seeking that from friends and peers, which now with the disconnect, can be considered as triggers,” Ducas said.