It has been a challenging upstream battle to be part of the medical community in the Philippines. We had to be creative because higher government offices may know of the mental health bill passed but are lost in it's application in delivery of services. We found that solution by maintaining our presence through our international mental health liaison, Manuel de los Santos, psychologist, clinician, educator and mental health program director and author, recommended to pursue our plan to establish a community based program. We agreed to start at the grass roots working through the local government unit, Barangay, where we partnered with their medical health unit. This gave us the opportunity to directly educate residents of the Barangay, educate Barangay health officers and have the local business access our EAP, employee assistance program. We established collaboration with the local community parish church and through the kindness of big Corporate business SHOE MART, built the first Barangay Behavioral Health Unit building in the country.
Today the services rendered before the pandemic and during this health Crisis, the Lahug Barangay Behavioral Health Unit have been extremely helpful in educating on the following topics; coping skills for anxiety, fear, panic, depression, increase drug abuse and domestic violence, sadly there has been an increase in suicide especially within people of lower socioeconomic status who have lost their jobs, feeling helpless and hopeless. We have established a 24/7 crisis hotline. Our health clinicians are front liners. We are working to support these programs, continue education seminars with the plan to offer these added health services to other Barangays. We are not getting support from the government but we will not give up. Likewise, we call on you to help us promote and sustain these programs.
Through your assistance, we were able to support and successfully passed the mental health bill in Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines. We were also able to establish and maintain the first hospital based medical detoxification and specialized acute behavioral health unit in a medical surgical hospital at Cebu North General Hospital.
We are continuing to strengthen and sustain the community based program in the Barangay.
All of these initiative programs will not have come to fruition without your assistance. We thank you and on behalf of the recipient Filipinos, express their gratitude. You have made a significant difference in so many lives.
We also express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Fe Costales, psychiatrist for her professional services and believing in our mental health crusade. Above all, the personal commitment and passion of Manuel de los Santos for investing his life to be the torch bearer of our international mental health mission.
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