Guv mulls introducing MH program to schools

DG file

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. on Thursday said that he is eyeing to introduce the Program for Resilience of Ilonggos in Mind and Emotion (PRIME) to schools given the province’s current statistics on suicide and the full return of face-to-face classes.

In his regular press conference on Thursday, Defensor stressed that PRIME was still continuing as September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.

He added that they also have new psychosocial programs in the works, which will allow PRIME to be streamed down to school levels.

“We have the PRIME, that is in progress right now. We can actually do counselling. We are also typing a program where we’ll situate PRIME in the schools as it becomes part of the education program of the province,” he said.

“We are now being more aggressive [against suicide incidences], and we are now partnering with the private sector in our psychosocial response, and that is of course focused on the youth,” he added.

Defensor also teased that the provincial government may have a mental health hotline in the works.

He said they will mobilize the Teen Centers under the Provincial Population Office to be the “shelter” of the localized mental health programs of the province.

“We want the [Teen Centers] to be the house of our [PRIME] program. We will bring this up with the [Department of Education]. We have to work with [them], the [Sangguniang Kabataan], and private youth organizations,” the governor said.

“We need the nerve endings to detect [causes of suicide incidences]. We need to work on that, and the Teen Centers are the place [for the PRIME]. There are more Teen Centers now, and we continue to put funds there,” he added.

Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD) data bared that Iloilo province leads Region 6 in the number of suicide cases the year.

Iloilo province has 52 suicide cases out of the region’s total of 189 as of the second quarter of 2022.