BORACAY–A volunteer group urged the Sangguniang Bayan of Malay, Aklan to fast-track the passage of a mental health ordinance to promote better quality health care in Boracay Island and mainland Malay.
Lifeline Malay-Boracay is pushing for a municipal ordinance to develop coping strategies and mechanisms, strengthen mental health awareness, and integrate the private sector in the comprehensive mental health program.
The proposed ordinance will adopt Project E.M.B.R.A.C.E. (Educate Mental Health and Become Resilient and Alert through Community Enablement) with focus programs and services, and unified response on mental health problems and concerns.
The ordinance introduced by SB member Dalidig Sumndad mandates the LGU Malay to establish, in partnership with the private sector, a 24/7 hotline to receive calls from individuals with depression and suicidal thoughts.
“This mental health program in collaboration with the Department of Health (DoH) is aimed to address the common problems of mental health in Malay, specifically in Boracay Island,” Sumndad said.
The other agencies to be involved are the Malay Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of Education Malay District, Malay Municipal Health Office, Malay Population and Gender Office, and the Malay Municipal Planning and Development Office. The collaboration is seen to deliver appropriate and comprehensive services and interventions within the communities for mental health protection and for the treatment and care of individuals in Malay, Aklan.
According to Lifeline Malay-Boracay coordinator Rona Inocencio, the group provides guidance and counseling to individuals who have attempted to commit suicide and are undergoing depression due to the loss of loved ones and jobs, and loneliness after months of uncertainty and distress.
Their compassionate volunteers are presently helping more than 70 individuals manage their grief and depression in this pandemic.
On March 13, 2021, Lifeline Malay-Boracay and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish Church partnered with the Kiwanis Club of Kalibo, Kiwanis Club of Golden Salakot-Aklan, Kiwanis Club of Kalibo Legend, and the Kiwanis Club of Adding New Committed Partners-Aklan for a stress management program in Boracay Island.
The volunteers, through Project MMK (May Malasakit ang Kiwanis), conducted interventions on how suicide survivors and their family members in the three barangays of Yapak, Balabag, and Manocmanoc can cope with pandemic stress. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)