By Raymund Antonio
A group of student organizations and youth advocates is pushing for stronger collaboration between the Department of Health (DOH) and civil society organizations for a comprehensive health response amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re not all in the same boat amid this pandemic, especially in terms of mental health,” said Youth for Mental Health Coalition national chairperson Dr. RJ Naguit on Saturday, June 20.
“The COVID-19 crisis makes promoting mental health complex due to the different socioeconomic factors that threaten the mental health of Filipinos,” Naguit stressed.
The coalition made the statement on the anniversary of the passage of Philippine Mental Health Law.
President Duterte signed two years ago the landmark measure which provides affordable and accessible mental health services for Filipinos.
Naguit said much has been done by DOH and the Philippine Council for Mental Health in improving the country’s mental health situation but he highlighted the “need to harness the power of civil society some more.”
“We have a very vibrant civil society led by people with mental health conditions, non-government organizations, youth groups, and mental health professionals. It’s time that we harness their energies so we can have a robust and comprehensive mental health response,” Naguit said.
DOH’s collaboration with CSOs, the group said, should craft programs and policies on mental health.
“There are a lot of good initiatives being implemented right now by civil society. We just need spaces for us to discuss and learn from each other so that we can make sure that everyone, especially those who are at higher risk, receives mental health support,” he said.