Mental health care services to open in Naga hospital
By Jason B. Neola
The Naga City Hospital will soon have its Psychiatric, Psychosocial, and Neurological Services Unit by virtue of Ordinance 2021-028, which designated the hospital as the city government’s community-based mental health care facility.
Based on the ordinance, the unit shall operate to extend out-patient hospital care to individuals exhibiting psychiatric or neurologic symptoms and provide linkages and possible supervision of home care services for persons with special needs, as a consequence of long- term hospitalization, unavailable families, inadequate families, inadequate or noncompliance to treatment.
The unit is also tasked in the coordination with drug rehabilitation for persons who need care, treatment and rehabilitation, especially those suffering from drug or other substance-induced mental, emotional, and behavioral disorder.
The unit will also facilitate the referral system with other health and social welfare programs, both government and non-government, in the prevention of mental illness including the management of those at risk for mental health and psychosocial problems and mental illness or disability.
Authored by Councilor Joselito SA Del Rosario and Youth Councilor Averly Jerryl A. Escoto with Councilor Jose C. Rañola and Youth Councilor Kaye Pauline B. Servidad as co-authors, the city’s mental health care ordinance also established the Naga City Mental Health Advisory Board that shall provide for a consistent, rational and unified response to mental health problems through the formulation and implementation of the Naga City Mental Health Program.
The city government thru its City Health Office is directed by the ordinance to submit a quarterly report to the Philippine Council for Mental Health, which will contain the number of patients served, the kinds of mental illness or disability and the duration and result of the treatment, and the patient’s age, gender, educational attainment, and employment without disclosing the identities of such patients for confidentiality.
The failure to observe the ordinance’s provision on reportorial requirements carries with it a penalty. For first offense, the concerned official shall be asked to explain within 24 hours why no appropriate administrative sanction be meted against him/her. For 2nd offense, the concerned officer shall be meted a fine of P1,000, and; for third offense, a fine of P5,000 or an imprisonment of not more than 15 days, based on the court’s discretion.
The ordinance also includes provisions that mandate the promotion of mental health and public awareness, capacity-building programs for barangay frontliners, capacity-building programs for academic institutions and other stakeholders, access to effective and quality mental health care, and the creation of the oversight committee that will ensure that all the provisions in the local law are implemented.
To ensure the promotion of mental health awareness in the city, the ordinance enjoined the maximum participation of the city’s 27 barangays, institutions and establishments, including schools in the observance of the National Health Month every month of October.