(Feature) Health practitioners in Coron, Palawan ready to perform management of mental health disorders

April 14, 2015 3:48 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

CORON, Palawan, April 12 (PNA) — Internal management of mental health disorders can now be carried out by health practitioners in Coron, Palawan.

This was the result of the recent four-day training- workshop in management and treatment of mental disorders conducted at the Coron Village Lodge here for doctors, nurses and other health workers from four Palawan municipalities, namely Coron, Busuanga, Culion, and Linapacan.

The training, which was based from the World Health Organization (WHO) training module on Mental Health Global Action Program (MHGAP), aimed to teach the necessary intervention and management on the treatment of cases of mental problems.

The workshop was carried out under the initiative of Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo in coordination with experts from the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong City.

DOH-MIMAROPA or Region IV-B covers the island provincesof Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.

According to Director Janairo, the training in Coron was the last of a total of nine batches conducted in the five provinces of MIMAROPA as part of the region-wide goal of giving expertise to local doctors and nurses on proper handling and treating of patients with mental disorders.

A total of 223 doctors, nurses and other health practitioners took part in the nine training-workshops, including the close to 50 participants in the last batch from Coron, Busuanga, Culion and Linapacan municipalities on April 6-9.

The end-goal of the workshop is to ensure that doctors and nurses from the provinces of MIMAROPA are aware and knowledgeable of the problems related to mental disorders, how can they assess the patients, manage the cases, and prevent serious implications such as injuries and suicides.

With the training, the doctors and nurses can now provide the psychiatric treatment needed, which is the one being pushed by WHO in order to address the need for treatment and management of mental health disorders.

The workshop participants were also given lectures on how psychiatric patients from the MIMAROPA provinces who belong to the category of Class D (poor) can avail themselves of the free Medicine Access Program (MAP) of the DOH through the NCMH.

The health workers were taught about the procedures on applying as MAP sites wherein the medicines for mental disorders can be requested and distributed to patients through submission of the necessary papers which will be subject for approval by concerned authorities.

With the availability of free medicine to the class D patients who are taken care of by their relatives, it is foreseen that more patients with mental disorders can be on the way to proper healing instead of just being kept inside their own homes due to lack of supportive mental health care and stigmatization.

The Coron District Hospital is now being eyed as MAP site for the province as the necessary papers are now under processed.

During the workshop, one of the problems cited that contribute to the worsening of patients with mental disorders is lack of continuous medication as some of them stop the medication because of difficulty of purchasing the medicine since they are in the remote areas in the island provinces surrounded by bodies of water.

In addition, the high cost of medicine serves as a big burden on the part of the family whose earnings are affected since 45 percent of the income goes to the purchase of medicines and treatment.

Another obstacle is the lack of psychiatrists in MIMAROPA, where the only available option before was to give referrals or bring the patients to the NCMH in Mandaluyong City, which entails bigger expenses and inconvenience because of long travel and high transportation costs.

Through the training, the people of MIMAROPA can now expect better health services wherein their mental health will also be taken care of like other illnesses that need treatment as a healthy population should be comprised not only of physically-fit but also of mentally-healthy people.

NCMH experts led by Dr. Rico Caraos, a medical specialist and training officer of NCMH, cited the importance of continuous medication of patients who suffer mental illness to ensure that their conditions will not recur or worsen so that they can also be productive members of society.

Among the highlights of the workshops was on how to prevent injuries while dealing with patients who are showing violent tendencies or exhibiting signs of suicides.

NCMH Chief Nurse Lucila Espinosa said that presence of mind and care must not be forgotten by the doctors and nurses handling mental patients. She and co-trainor Estelita Pascua, assistant chief nurse of NCMH, demonstrated some of the common applicable and acceptable ways to give the necessary and safe intervention both on the part of the patient and to the one who is rendering the care.

Both Espinosa and Pascua also shared to the training participants some basic tips on how they can get the trust of the patients and show they are around to give care and not to harm them.

“It is important to build the patient's trust," the expert nurses stressed as they cited the importance of loving the kind of work they have been doing for so many years at the NCMH. They said that they were not tempted to work abroad or accept other job offers in spite of the dangers of handling mentally-ill patients, especially the violent ones.

“The nurses and doctors dealing with them should be careful to protect themselves from being hurt and ensuring that patients will not be hurt or be gravely harmed at the same time in pacifying them (in case of severe violent resistance to treatment wherein a patient tries to hurt himself or others),” they added. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ/PJN

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