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PIA Press Release

Fariņas pushes advocacy for mental health, pushes for add'l financial support for BGHMC

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (25 October) -- The National Mental Health week celebration kicked-off with a Citizens' March, Monday morning, October 20. The event was organized by the Department of Health and Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) and was participated by various government line agencies and civic organizations.

In a short program, Vice Mayor Daniel Fariņas stressed the need for an advocacy program for people to understand the situations of mentally ill persons including those that are roaming the streets, the mendicants or "taong grasa".

According to Fariņas, we should remove the stigma from these people, whom he described as "victims of circumstances".

In the same program, BGHMC chief Dr Manuel Factora explained that celebrating Mental Health Week aims to integrate mental health to our total health and in every activity in our national system. It also aims to ensure the equity, availability, accessibility, appropriateness and affordability of mental health/psychiatric services in the country.

Mental health is an integral component of total health, therefore it should be available in public health, as well as in all hospital system in the country, Dr Factora added.

Dr Factora also pointed out that mental health is becoming a global problem, so the health sector also aims to partner with the citizenry in advocacy and actions regarding the issue, as it is not only the responsibility of the health sector but of each citizen as well.

He pointed out that removing stress through "stress management" is still the most effective way to prevent a mental illness.

Meanwhile, Farinas lauded the DOH for its commitment, in doing its part, for the maintenance of the society, especially, the life of the people.

He also commended the BGHMC, for its untiring support to all the health needs of the people, not only in the city and the Cordillera but to the neighboring regions as well.

Relative to this, Fariņas is pushing for an additional financial assistance for BGHMC saying that we can be stronger a city, if we have a strong health department. He tasked Councilor Galo Weygan, who was also present during the program, to bring the issue to the city council when they deliberate on the 2009 budget. (PIA) [top]

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