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Quezon City passes mental health care ordinance

The local government of Quezon City has passed an ordinance that aims to uphold residents' right to mental health care and to encourage mental health awareness among the public.

The Community Based Mental Health Program of 2015 was approved on the third and final reading during the 77th regular session of the Quezon City Council on October 19.

According to a copy sent by the legislative division of the Quezon City Council to GMA News Online, the ordinance's objectives are the following:

  • to promote a shift from a hospital-based system to a strengthened community-based mental heath care delivery system;
  • to reorient and modernize existing health facilities;
  • to integrate mental health care into the general health care delivery system;
  • to prevent, treat, and control mental illness at all levels and rehabilitate persons with mental disability;
  • to provide access to comprehensive health care and treatment to ensure a well-balanced community-based mental health program and hospital care and treatment;
  • to establish a multi-sectoral joint network for the identification and prevention of mental illness or disability and the management of mental health problems among vulnerable groups in the population, including include those affected by overseas employment, children, adolescents, elderly, and those who are in need of special protection like survivors of extreme life experiences and violence;
  • to promote the mental heath of the people through a multi-disciplinary approach that covers health, education, labor and employment, justice, and social welfare;
  • to develop coping mechanisms and strategies vital to recovery; and
  • to assist patients to have a productive, quality, and livable lives.

By strengthening a community-based mental health care system, the local government of Quezon City believes that it will be more accessible to its residents.

With this shift, the ordinance also pushes for capacity-building, reorientation, and training of local health workers, teachers, and different sectors of the community through the help of professionals and experts.

The ordinance was introduced by Councilors Anthony Peter Crisologo, Eufemio Lagumbay, Jessica Castelo Daza, and Allan Benedict Reyes.

The amount of P7,498,850 from the Quezon City Health Department's budget is expected to be allotted to the implementation of the ordinance.

Admission and consent

"A patient with mental illness or disability shall have the right to treatment in the least restrictive environment suited to the patient's mental health needs," the ordinance stated.

It added that consent to care, treatment, or rehabilitation should be obtained freely without threats and improper inducements. It should also be relayed in a language understood by the patient.

However, if the patient at that time lacks the capacity to give or withhold consent, his next of kin or legal representative shall give consent.  

Likewise, every patient admitted voluntarily will have the right to be discharged from a facility if recommended by an attending psychiatrist.

But the patient will be retained further if there is a serious tendency to harm himself and others; depending on the severity of the illness; and if appropriate treatment can only be done by admission to a mental health facility.

Mental Health Committee

The mental health city ordinance also establishes the creation of the Quezon City Mental Health Committee under the City Health Department. It is meant to provide for a consistent, rational, and unified response to mental health problems, concerns, and efforts through the City Mental Health Care Delivery System.

It will be headed by the City Mayor with the Vice Mayor as the Vice Chairperson, and will have committees on health, barangay affairs, women, and children.

Other cities that have passed mental heath-related ordinances are Bacolod and General Santos City. — BM, GMA News
Tags: mentalhealth