Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte wants programs and projects to address mental health issues in communities.
“The right to health, which includes the right to mental health, is a fundamental right we all must strive to achieve,” she said.
Belmonte cited the importance of prioritizing and addressing mental health problems and issues during the National Mental Health Summit at SM Aura Premier.
Among the initiatives that the mayor mentioned is the enactment of the Quezon City Mental Health code which incorporates all the existing mental health programs of the city government.
It also localizes Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Act.
“It is important that we discuss mental health since the more you talk about it, the less it becomes taboo, and the less it becomes a stigma and the more mainstream it becomes. That is what we want. We want to consider it as a regular illness that can be treated and cured,” she said.
Based on the Quezon City Police District’s data, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of suicide for the past five years with an average of 96 suicides in the city annually.
From 2018 to 2020, the police recorded a 52 percent increase in the figure.
The city mayor lamented that insufficient and unavailability of data is also a hindrance in addressing mental health-related issues.
Under the proposed QC Mental Health Code, the city shall intensify its initiatives through institutionalizing training and awareness-raising among local service providers including city hall employees, barangay officials, and school teaching and non-teaching personnel.
Mental wellness access hubs in the communities would also be expanded to further capacitate them in conducting assessments, diagnosis, crisis intervention, and disbursement of free prescription medication.
The city government believes that the environment plays a much more significant role in one’s resilience to stress, anxiety, and depression, thus it local has enhanced its programs and services.
“We in Quezon City recognize that the non-health related programs and services that we provide can have a significant impact on the mental well-being of our constituents. This is also the reason why each year, our administration continues to diversify our portfolio of social services,” Belmonte said.
Meanwhile, the mayor was named BAHAGHARI Champion for upholding gender equality and protecting LGBTQIA+ rights in Quezon City.
In recognition of her leadership and advocacies to promote equal rights, the Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride hailed Mayor Belmonte as one of the BAHAGHARI Champions during the recent first awards night. Rio N. Araja