Senatorial aspirant Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (second from left) obliges for a photo op with some of his die-hard supporters. (Photo supplied)
BAGUIO CITY, BENGUET — Partido Reporma senatorial aspirant retired Gen. Guillermo Eleazar is urging the government to ensure the mental wellness of Filipinos amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, especially for parents who have to juggle household chores and the pressure of assisting their children in online classes.
According to the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, mental illnesses remain taboo in a major part of the country but due to inroads and studies made by scientists, awareness has been slowly opened to the public as it has become a national concern due to the pandemic.
Based on data from the Department of Health (DoH), at least 3.6 million Filipinos have been documented to experience mental and neurological disorders in 2020 and when the pandemic struck that same year, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) revealed that it had received at least 11,017 calls from individuals seeking mental health assistance.
Evidently, Eleazar noted, one of the most affected sectors in this concern is the parents who have to cope with the added stress brought about by the cancellation of face-to-face classes that was replaced with distance learning on the initiative of the Department of Education (DepEd).
“Ang mga masalimuot na problemang kinaharap noon sa edukasyon ay mas tumindi pa ngayon. May mga nagsasabing nasa crisis level na nga tayo. Pero bukod sa mga estudyante, lubhang apektado ay ang ating mga nanay, tatay, at guardians na kailangan sumabay sa mga pangangailangan sa blended learning,” the retired police general pointed out.
“Ang ating mga ina na kailangan gumabay bilang guro sa bahay sa kabila ng mga regular na gawain ay dapat din nating alalayan. Ang ilan sa mga nanay o tatay ay nagkakaroon ng mental breakdown dahil sa patung-patong na tungkulin na kailangan nilang gampanan. Pagtuunan natin ng pansin ang usapin sa mental wellness,” he added.
When he was the PNP chief, one of Eleazar’s priorities was the mental well-being of all police personnel and he had instructed all ground commanders to monitor and conduct regular psychological counseling and evaluation of their subordinates.
In support of this endeavor, the country’s former Top Cop said he wants to adopt the program on a national scale if he ever gets elected as a member of the Senate.
He vowed to strengthen the Philippine Mental Health Act in the Philippines and establish an assistance desk in every barangay so that the mental health needs of the people will easily be addressed. In addition, he cited that barangay health workers should be trained so that they can handle individuals seeking mental health assistance.
“Marahil ay marami pa rin ang nahihiya na pag-usapan and mental health dahil baka mabansagang nababaliw sila kung kokonsulta sa mga eksperto. Pero sa tamang programa ay maipapaalam natin sa publiko ang kahalagahan ng mental health awareness,” he said.
The Partido Reporma candidate likewise stressed that a bigger portion of the health budget should also be allocated to improve the mental health services in the country, particularly in maintaining the operations and facilities of psychiatric hospitals and hiring more government mental health workers that would cater to the needs of Filipinos suffering from mental health issues.
“Mainam kung mailalapit natin sa tao ang tulong na kailangan nila pagdating sa usapin ng mental issues dahil hindi biro ang kalagayan ng isang taong dumaranas nito,” Eleazar concluded. (ai/mtvn)