Group airs views, insights on mental health

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The Philippine Guidance Counselors Association, Inc. (PGCAI) aired its views and insights on mental health which is now a serious problem among Filipinos following the implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown and different levels of community quarantine as a means to combat the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The group defined mental health as a state of well-being and which the individual realizes one’s own abilities and potentials; copes adequately with the normal stresses of life; displays reliance in the face of extreme life events; works productively and fruitfully and is able to make a positive contribution to the community.

On the other hand, the PGCAI stated that mental health services refer to psycho-social, psychiatric or neurologic activities and programs along the whole range of mental health support services.

Mental health services include promotion, prevention, treatment and after care.

Further, the PGCAI added that mental health program is a system of services designed to maintain the state of well-being of an individual for people to realize their own abilities and potentials, cope adequately with the normal stresses of life, displays resilience in the face of extreme life events, works productively and fruitfully and is able to make a positive contribution to the community.

According to the group, mental health services are provided by mental health facilities and mental health professionals which refer to medical doctors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, guidance counsellors or any other appropriately-trained and qualified persons with specific skills relevant to the provision of mental health services.

The group stated that educational institutions such as schools, colleges, educators and other employees designed to raise awareness on mental health issues; identify and provide support and services for individuals at risk; and facilitate access, including referral mechanisms of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psycho-social support.

Moreover, the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in coordination with other relevant government agencies and stakeholders shall provide guidance in the development and implementation of mental health policies and programs to educational institutions, particularly promote mental health; provide basic support services for individuals at risk or already have a mental health condition and establish efficient linkages with other agencies or organizations that provide or make arrangements to provide support, treatment and continuing support.

The PGCAI pointed out that all public and private educational institutions shall be required to have a compliment of mental health professionals and that employers shall develop appropriate policies and programs on mental health in the workplace designed to raise awareness on mental health issues; correct the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions; identify and provide support for individuals at risk, and facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psycho-social support. By HENT

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