Role of health workers underscored to address mental illness

Published September 24, 2019, 10:44 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Analou De Vera

The Department of Health (DOH)-Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) underscored that health workers should have enough knowledge about mental illness to address the stigma attached to it.

Dr. Eduardo Janairo, Department of Health (DOH) Regional Director in Calabarzon (LYKA MANALO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Dr. Eduardo Janairo, Department of Health (DOH) Regional Director in Calabarzon (LYKA MANALO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Regional Director Eduardo Janairo noted that people with mental illness in rural areas “avoid seeking and receiving medical care due to misconceptions, myths, and cultural stigma associated with the disorder.”

“That is why health workers, as frontline health providers, must have the knowledge and understanding of people afflicted with mental illness in order that prejudice or stigma in the community and the hesitancy to seek care will be diminished,” said Janairo.

To address the concern, the DOH-Calabarzon said it recently conducted training on mental health care for barangay health workers in the region.

“The significant role of barangay health workers as key providers and facilitators of mental health care in the community must be given importance and supported through proper training and skills enhancement for them to improve the accessibility and the quality of mental health services in these areas,” said Janairo.

“They must be properly prepared and educated in order for them to recognize, provide early intervention, and refer patients to specialists, including giving support to people experiencing mental health disorders in their own communities,” he added.

Meanwhile, the role of the family plays an important role in the recovery of individuals suffering from mental illness.

“Family and community support will also be of great help in facilitating a patient’s success in his or her recovery,” said DOH-Calabarzon Regional Mental Health Outcome Manager Paula Calo.