BSK Elections (Pushing for Mental Health Agenda in the Barangays)

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20 November 2023

 

Researchers/ Writers: CJ Dumaguin and Tobey Calayo 
Editor: Kyra Ballesteros  
Graphic Artists: Jia Moral, Ian Stephen Velez, Krystle Mae Labio, Sarah Mondoy

The geographic location of the Philippines is particularly vulnerable to different natural disasters, which is a perennial challenge to local leaders. Weak governance at any level can only weaken the coordinated response to these challenges. 

Implementation of Mental Health Programs in the Barangays

We often fail to realize that we can solve most of our problems where we live. The barangay, therefore plays a vital role in national development. Such activities like mental health programs should be present at the barangay level to be as close as possible to the communities they serve. If we choose our barangay leaders wisely, we can design the community transformation we desire [6]. This affirms the basic right of all Filipinos to mental health.

Newly-elected barangay officials should learn to prioritize community-based mental health care services to integrate the social connectedness of the covered barangays. Community interventions in mental health attempt to shift the focus of interventions from a remedial to a preventive one, which focuses on addressing the socioeconomic factors that affect well-being, and capacitating individuals to adapt [7].

It is also important for new barangay officials to realize the significance of RA 11036, otherwise known as the Mental Health Act. To enhance mental health service delivery through Universal Health Care, the law promotes and protects the rights of persons using psychosocial health services, and provides increased investments in mental health. 

Mental health promotion is an important community strategy as it focuses on helping people to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to promote and protect their own mental wellbeing. Health promotion simultaneously works to create positive changes in our shared social environments for the betterment of our collective mental well-being [7].

 

It is high time for the Barangay Government Units to establish community mental health centers to provide psychoeducation, therapeutic interventions, and stabilization for people experiencing life challenges. With equity and fairness in the allocation of resources, community-based mental health programs can be offered in a variety of services to support health holistically. If these can be only effectively implemented, many individuals will see an improvement in their quality of life. After all, mental health is integral to overall health.

Last October 2023, 67,839,700 voters registered for the long overdue Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) to elect over a million local officials. The voter turnout for the 2023 BSKE exceeded the previous elections in 2018, and is the first election post-pandemic. This begs the question: how will newly elected officials provide community-based mental health services.

Pag-usapan natin yan! Join us for our usual #UsapTayo session this  November 20, 2023! 

Session Questions:

  1. How can local barangay officials prioritize mental health in their communities?
  2. How can the newly-elected Barangay Leaders push for a Mentally Healthy Community? 
  3. What does a mentally healthy barangay look like? What kind of programs, facilities, and services does it have?

 

References: 

[1] Philippine Mental Health Association – Cordillera Chapter

2022

Community Mental Health Based Program 

https://www.pmhacci.com/programs-services/eis/mental-health-community-outreach-program/

 

[2] Philippine News Agency

January 23, 2019

Mental Health Services now accessible in baranggays

https://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php/articles/1059789 

 

[3] Philippine News Agency

October 11, 2023

Oct. 30 declare a special non-working holiday for barangay, SK polls 

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1211552 

 

[4] Senate of the Philippines

October 10, 2019

Mental health care should be available at a barangay level: Pangilinan 

https://legacy.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/1010_pangilinan1.asp 

 

[5] Cognizance Journal

May 2022

DISASTER MENTAL HEALTH PREPAREDNESS AMONG RESIDENTS OF FLOOD-PRONE BARANGAYS IN SAN JOSE OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, PHILIPPINES  

https://cognizancejournal.com/vol2issue5/V2I503.pdf 

 

[6] Menguin, J. Barangay Leadership and Community Transformation. February 2023. Barangay Leadership & Community Transformation (jefmenguin.com)

 

[7] Hearth, S. September 2023. What are the community-based mental health programs in the Philippines?

 

What are community-based mental health programs in the Philippines? [Expert Review!] (wellbeingport.com)

 

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