DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Authorities here often resorted to so-called “bus therapy” and “police mobile therapy” to people with mental illness left loitering in the city.
Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte, on Committee on Health, told reporters on Tuesday that there are still no shelters intended for those suffering from mental disorder who were abandoned on the streets.
“These people can’t be admitted by authorities to a mental health facility because their relatives are unknown,” Villafuerte said.
It was revealed on one of its committee hearing that they were only given transport fare by authorities who let them ride the bus going outside the city.
There is also this practice of police personnel letting these people ride police mobile cars, which drop them off at quiet barangays.
Villafuerte refused to accept it but this is the current practice.
“Police asks where will they bring these people who no one will accept, there is no facility. These people can’t be placed together with prisoners in cells,” Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte believed this is also going on with other local government units that lack mental health facilities.
Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Medicine (IPBM) located in Davao City is the only mental health facility in the entire Mindanao.
In a few weeks, the Committee on Health is set to submit a proposal for a Mental Health Ordinance for second reading in the City Council. It provides for the creation of a mental health division in the local government.
Villafuerte said they are pushing for a community-based mental health program.
They are looking into hiring at least one psychologist, mental health nurse and social worker per district.
Villafuerte added that following the passage of the Mental Health Act, the Department of Health (DOH) trained all district health centers on how to diagnose and treat mental health.
The city council also wants to have medicine for mental health be available for free in all health centers so that all patients don’t have to be brought to IPBM.
“We feel it is the best thing to treat people who are suffering from mental health disorder in their communities on an outpatient basis,” Villafuerte said, bringing only those who need to be admitted to the mental health facility.
Villafuerte said they will also ask City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to establish a halfway house or shelter in the city for those with mental disorders whose residence still couldn’t be traced and those who were admitted but still not ready to go back to the community. (davaotoday.com)