Health department to extend mental health aid to Marawi evacuees

A volunteer doctor gives the thumbs up to 2 years old Manequin Lasola who was trapped for 11 days with her father Julio Lasola at Pangarungan Village in Marawi City, PHOTO: Noel Celis/AFP

The Department of Health (DOH) assured that they will extend mental health programs in response to the needs of the civilians rescued from the crossfire between the government and the Maute Group in Marawi City.

Aside from stress management, DOH will also arrange programs for those who have developed mental health disorders.

“Kung highly stressed na ‘yong isang tao, kung dati ay may probelma na siya sa bahay, sa trabaho, o umiinom siya ng alak o [gumagamit ng] drugs, mas madali siyang magkaroon ng mental disorder. ‘Yon ‘yong mga babantayan natin,” said Dr. Ivanhoe Escartin of the DOH in a report by GMA News.

(If the person is highly stressed, if he already had problems at home, at work, or if he’s drinking and using drugs, it’s easier for him to develop a mental disorder. That’s our basis)

An opinion piece in ABS-CBN News on mental health during armed conflicts cited the paper “Conflict and Emerging Infectious Diseases” by the World Health Organization (WHO), saying that populations affected by armed conflicts have high rates of illness and mortality due to breakdown of health systems, flight of trained staff, failure of existing disease control programs, and destroyed infrastructure. The paper noted that as a consequence of conflicts, evacuees are more vulnerable to infection and disease. This may be due to undernutrition or malnutrition, low vaccine coverage, or long-term stress.

The DOH told reporters that victims will also be receiving “psychological first aid” in evacuation centers.

Escartin emphasized the importance of providing the victims with food, health services and vaccine for children.

Around 39,200 evacuees are currently staying in Iligan City

Read: Displaced Marawi residents getting ill in evacuation centers

After three weeks of staying in evacuation centers, displaced residents of the besieged city of Marawi have been reporting sufferingvarious illnesses including fever and diarrhea.


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