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AICS also aids needy kids with mental health needs

Trigger Warning: Mention of Suicide

SORSOGON CITY, Sorsogon (PIA) -- Underprivileged children who need treatment for mental disorder can obtain immediate cash assistance from local governments and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Sorsogon City social welfare officer Ma. Zyra Bermillo said her office provides help to indigent youths with mental health needs through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS).

“If an adolescent displays deviant behavior, we refer him to a psychiatrist or psychologist for professional support,” Bermillo said.

Additionally, the City Social Welfare and Development Office can offer medical assistance to the child if it is deemed necessary, she added. 

Gladys Escote, the director of the Department of Health in Sorsogon, explains that some psychiatric illnesses may require lifelong medication therapy.

“At alam naman po natin na hindi mura ang gamot for maintenance (And we know that medicine for maintenance is not cheap),” she said.

Sorsogon City social welfare officer Ma. Zyra Bermillo (2nd from right) explains during the Kapihan sa PIA held at SM City Sorsogon, the assistance offered by the social welfare and development office of LGUs to individuals in crisis situation. Joining her from left to right are Ma. Pamela Sorra-Viñas, education supervisor of Commission on Higher Education for Bicol; Regina Gonzalgo, mental health focal of Provincial Health Office in Sorsogon; Sheila Maria Morada, mental health and psychological support system coordinator of Schools Division Office of Sorsogon province; and Dr. Gladys Escote, head of Department of Health in Sorsogon. (Photo: PIA Sorsogon)

The DSWD offers similar social welfare services, which include transportation, food, medical, and financial assistance to individuals with mental health conditions.

Sorsogon was one of the provinces identified in a February 2023 Department of Education report on areas with increased cases of suicide.

The report, which was presented in Senate panel, revealed that over 2,000 students in the country were recorded to have attempted suicide in public schools during school year 2021-2022, 404 of whom died in the process.

Bermillo said a 12-grade student from Bacon District swallowed a household cleaning chemical when she felt that no one was taking care of her anymore.

“In cases where the child's family is experiencing significant financial difficulties, we can also provide subsistence support,” Bermillo said.

Meanwhile, the DOH has launched a project in 2019 through the development of a multi-sectoral National Suicide Prevention Strategy that includes psychosocial services such as the National Center for Mental Health’s (NCMH) Crisis Hotline “Kamusta Ka? Tara Usap Tayo”.

Individuals seeking support or a listening ear are encouraged to reach out to 0966-351-4518 hotline or the NCMH Crisis Hotline 1553 and 0917 899 8727(USAP) that is available 24/7 for prompt psychological first aid. (PIA 5/Sorsogon)

About the Author

Benilda Recebido

Information Center Manager

Region 5

Benilda "Bennie" Recebido is the Information Center Manager of PIA Sorsogon.

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