Benguet board okays community-based mental health program

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial board approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance providing for a community-based mental health program and delivery system in the province.

The ordinance authored by board member Nestor Fongwan, Jr. stated that it is a declared policy of the provincial government to uphold the right of the people to mental health and encourage mental health consciousness among them and towards the same, the province shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to the development of the Provincial Mental Health Care Delivery System to deliver appropriate services and interventions, including provisions of mental health protection care, treatment and other essential services to those with mental illness or disability.

The ordinance also provided for the creation of a Provincial Mental Health Board to provide a consistent, rational and unified response to mental health problems, concerns, and efforts through the formulation and implementation of the Provincial Mental Health Care Delivery System.

Further, the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) shall manage, administer and implement the delivery of the health care delivery services which shall constitute a quality mental health care program, through the development of efficient and effective structures, systems and mechanisms, that will ensure fair, accessible, affordable, appropriate, efficient, and effective delivery of mental health care to all its stakeholders by qualified, competent, compassionate, and ethical mental health professionals and workers.

The board shall be composed of the Provincial governor as Chairperson and the Chairperson of the Committee on Barangay Affairs, Chairperson Committee on Senior Citizens, Chairperson of the Committee on Youth and Children, representatives from the BeGH, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provincial Legal office, Department of Education and non-government organizations from the women and religious sectors involved in mental health issues.

Fongwan stated that to protect the right to be treated with dignity, respect and justice to those who are suffering from mental health problems, the board shall promote an integrated approach to mental health care to prevent mental disorders through programs that strengthen the basic coping mechanism of individuals  in relation to stress and advocacy to raise the  value of mental health consciousness among the people.

According to the ordinance, only patients or former patients shall be entitled to have access to their personal mental health records and for justifiable reasons, such confidential information may not be given to the patient but instead be given to the patient’s representative or counsel.

Fongwan proposed the appropriation of P1 million for the sustainable implementation of the pertinent provisions of the ordinance.

Within 90 days from the effectivity of the ordinance, the Provincial Governor shall, in coordination with the board, formulate the rules and regulations necessary for the effective implementation of the measure. By HENT

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