Local health authorities divulged that suicide cases in the city increased by as much as sixty percent during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period.
Dr. Khecy Colas, medical officer of the City Health Services Office (CHSO), said that there were some 59 suicide cases documented from 2017 to 2019 or the pre-pandemic period which rose to some 95 cases from 2020-2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She disclosed that the top 5 mental issues that were given attention by the CHSO mental health unit include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and personality disorder.
The medical officer claimed that the CHSO mental health unit is always open to provide counseling to clients for them to be assessed and evaluated by experts and provide them with the necessary guidance on how to address their situation.
According to her, the 16 district health centers also refer their clients experiencing mental health issues to the mental health unit for further assessment and evaluation. That is why individuals experiencing mental health issues should immediately seek appropriate attention with the experts.
After the conduct of the assessment and evaluation of the status of the individuals seeking advice from the said unit, Colas revealed that these individuals will be subjected to counseling for them to be provided with the appropriate advice on how to go about their situation.
Among the other services offered by the mental health unit include lectures and other related activities on mental health awareness undertaken by the capable personnel.
Aside from the CHSO, other partner agencies implementing the city’s mental health and wellness program include the Baguio City Emergency Medical Services, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) and the Benguet General Hospital, complimented by other partners in the private sector.
Colas stipulated that the CHSO has also tapped the services of peer support groups who have earlier volunteered to extend the needed assistance in the implementation of the city’s mental health awareness programs to address the evident increase in mental health issues.
She emphasized that the counseling services being provided by the health department are free , that is why individuals suffering from mental health issues should immediately seek the appropriate attention and counseling from the district health centers nearest to them for them to be provided with the proper advice. By Dexter A. See