Gov’t urged to provide mental health services for Marawi victims

MANILA-- Aside from ensuring the physical health of Maranaos, a senator on Tuesday said that it was just as important to ensure their mental health following reports that some evacuees have shown early symptoms of schizophrenia.

"The shattered dignity of the Maranaos is more difficult to relieve. It takes more than food or water or even shelter. It needs much more than that to be restored," Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said in a statement.

Angara made this remark citing a recent news report that some 2,500 evacuees have shown early symptoms of schizophrenia.

The senator called on government authorities to ensure that sufficient medical aid, including mental health services, will be afforded to the rescued civilians and displaced residents of the war-torn Marawi City.

Citing Marawi Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong, Angara said the same report showed that there is a lack of psychiatrists in the area.

Angara, one of the authors of the Senate-approved mental health bill, pointed out that the conflict-torn Marawi City residents emphasized the need for a mental health law in the country.

The bill mandates the government to provide basic mental health services at the community level and psychiatric, psychosocial and neurologic services in all regional, provincial and tertiary hospitals.

With such law in place, he said that mental health services will be more accessible especially in conflict areas so as to immediately provide psychological first aid to victims after a traumatic incident.

"Let's aggressively address the well-being of the evacuees. It is more important to rebuild their souls more than the buildings downtown. When souls are broken, there is no rehabilitating a city because a city is its people," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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