Solon warns vs rise in mental problems

A HOUSE leader on Monday warned the government and his colleagues in Congress against an increase in mental problems among Filipinos due to the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus said the fear alone of getting infected by the new COVID-19 “is driving many Filipinos nuts.”

“This prolonged pandemic has an adverse affect to the mental health of tens of thousands if not millions among us. Worries of being sick with COVID-19, no work, no food or less food to eat, being unable to go outdoors, pressure to earn for the family, sickness in the family, depressing news of friends infected with and dying of COVID, unable to continue school, inability to get physical comfort from friends and relatives - all these result in deteriorating mental health of our people,” said Rodriguez.

Added to these “is the uncertainty of when this infectious virus wreaking havoc on our lives will go away,” he said.

Rodriguez urged the government to hire more guidance counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health personnel to help people cope with mental issues.

He said the national government and local government units should prepare facilities for counseling and treating people with psychological problems.

On the part of Congress, he said the legislature should speed up the approval of proposals for the hiring of more mental health personnel and construction of mental health facilities, he said.

He said one such measure is House Bill (HB) No. 2732, which he filed in July 2018.

The bill is titled, “An Act to recruit, hire and train additional school-based guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers and mental health personnel.”

The proposed law provides that each public elementary and secondary school should have at least three counselors, one psychologist and one social worker.

Rodriguez said schools should promote the mental health of students, aside from focusing on their academic or curricular development.