A LAWMAKER on Sunday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to prioritize mental health training for its personnel to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively deal with individuals in crisis.
“This will not only improve the safety of our communities but also prevent unnecessary harm to individuals who may be experiencing mental health issues,” AnaKalusugan Rep. Ray T. Reyes said.
“Being able to assess the situation effectively can help our uniformed personnel make informed decisions whatever situation they may be in, at any given time,” he added.
Reyes said mental health training will also help PNP personnel cope with the mental and emotional toll their job entails.
“Alam naman natin ho na hindi biro ang trabaho ng ating mga pulis. Araw-araw, hindi nawawala ang banta sa inyong buhay at panganib. Kailangan rin po ay ingatan natin lagi ang mental well-being ng ating mga tagaligtas,” he said.
“I believe that being in the peak of our health, both physically and mentally, helps us in providing help and care to the citizens more efficiently,” he added.
For their part, the lawmaker said his group continues to review and improve existing mental health laws to ensure that they are aligned with international standards and best practices.
“We must also ensure that our laws protect the rights of individuals with mental health conditions and promote their inclusion in society,” he said.
He stressed the importance of collaboration between lawmakers and law enforcement agencies like the PNP in effectively addressing mental health issues in communities.
“We recognize the relevance of the PNP’s role in creating a safe and secure environment for our citizens,” he said.
“We believe that the PNP and the legislative branch can work together to address mental health issues in our communities,” Reyes added.
Reyes also said mental health services, such as counseling and therapy, should be made more accessible and affordable to Filipinos.
He authored House Bill (HB) 929, which aims to strengthen the delivery of mental health services in basic education institutions.
“Simulan natin nang maaga ang pangangalaga sa mental health ng ating mga mamamayan. Sa panukalang ito, inaagapan natin ang problema at nilalapatan natin ng pagtugon ang stigma ng mental health,” he said.
“Dito, inilalatag natin ang mga tulong na maaaring pakinabangan ng ating mga anak as they navigate their world in the “new normal” and the ever-changing social landscape,” he added.