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Baguio addresses workers’ mental health issues to improve productivity

BAGUIO CITY: With at least two local government employees seeking interventions monthly on their mental health issues since 2023, this city is implementing programs to help its personnel.

‘We are happy that they seek help because it takes courage for a person with a mental health condition to even seek help,’ Dr. Ricky Ducas, head of the Mental Health and Wellness Unit of the City Health Services Office (CHSO), said in an interview on Monday.

Ducas said local authorities are glad employees are coming forward but noted that it means that there is a huge need to address the mental health of employees.

‘More employees are being diagnosed with different mental health conditions, which, when unattended, will affect the person’s productivity, making it important to look into those matters like any ordinary illness,’ he said.

Ducas said the common issues, even of non-city government employees, are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety with substance abuse.

He said the implementing rules of th
e programs under Executive Order (EO) 136-2023 is ‘almost ready.’

The EO was issued following the approval of Ordinance 29-2021, which provides for a mental health care and developmental wellness program for the city government.

A total of 399 sought the help of the CHSO mental health unit in 2023.

They were assisted in terms of maintenance medicines, referred for psychiatric evaluation, rescued from the possibility of harming themselves, and were provided with talk therapy.

A total of 201 are still being actively assisted by the unit, Ducas said.

He said the city government also partnered with a private firm that assessed about 600 local government employees who indicated willingness to join the mental health wellness program.

Source: Philippines News Agency