RDC pushes for study on mentally-challenged residents

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/29 August) — The Regional Development Council (RDC) wants a comprehensive study on the scope and status of mentally-challenged persons in the region to address their concerns and basic needs.

In a resolution, the council directed the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 to commission a study on the mentally ill sector in coordination with the region’s state colleges and universities.

Karl Vincent Queipo, chair of the RDC 12’s Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC), said the move was based on a proposal earlier endorsed to the council by their committee.

He said they specifically proposed the conduct of a region-wide study on the magnitude of mentally-ill persons as well as various issues and concerns affecting the sector.

The committee recommended the DOH-12 to spearhead the study in coordination with the University of the Philippines Manila School of Health Sciences campus in Koronadal City and other state colleges and universities in the region, he said.

Based on the results of the disability survey earlier conducted by the DOH, mental illness is currently the third most common form of disability in the country.

According to the acute psychiatric unit of the Cotabato City-based Cotabato Regional Medical Center, the number of psychiatric patients in the region increased by 33 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year.

It said Region 12 posted a total of 586 psychiatric or mentally-ill patients in 2011 and the number increased to 780 last year.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The RDC noted that the overall well-being of some mentally-ill persons in the region, especially those who belong to poor families, has deteriorated in the past several years.

Such situation was traced to rising cases of “abandonment, lack of appropriate training of concerned government personnel to properly take care and rehabilitate them, and the prohibitive costs of medical care and hospitalization expenses.”  (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)