BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Department of Health (DOH) brought the Biyaheng Kalusugan to Mountain Province focusing on mental health, on October 25, 2023.
Biyaheng Kalusugan is part of the Healthy Pilipinas campaign’s effort to improve the health literacy of Filipinos and enable them to practice the Seven Healthy Habits namely: 1 Move more, eat right, 2 Be clean, live sustainably, 3 Get vaccinated, 4 Don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, say no to drugs, 5 Care for yourself, care for others, 6, Practice safe sex, and 7 Do no harm, put safety first.
In the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Bontoc, Mountain Province was chosen as the pilot area of which the Healthy Habit- “Care for yourself, care for others” was highlighted.
Thus, in collaboration with the provincial and local government units, along with the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC), fun and engaging activities for students of MPSPC, Senior and Junior High Schools were featured which encouraged the participants the practice of self-care and raise awareness on mental health concerns, address common misconceptions, and promote active care of mental health and well-being.
Among the activity booths were Mirror Loves You which is a reminder of loving and caring for one ‘s self; the Grid of Emotions, where participants were challenged with truth or dare games; Take One, Leave One booth where they got to receive an encouraging message and leave an inspiring message for the next participant; and Help Desk Health Hub for peer counselling sessions.
Dr. Rio Magpantay, the Regional Director of DOH-CAR, in his message, emphasized the importance of supporting one’s mental health and well-being.
He likened the Biyaheng Kalusugan to the journey of a person where he or she will be faced with many challenges and situations, meet diverse individuals along the way, and eventually realize how important it is to have somebody to face these challenges with.
DOH Secretary Theodore Herbosa in a video message remarked that it aims to foster a cultural community where choosing healthy behaviors becomes an easier choice for everyone, everywhere, every time.
Bontoc Mayor Jerome “Chagsen” Tudlong, Jr., in his message, expressed the support of the Bontoc LGU on mental health.
He added that the gathering is a reminder that mental health matters.
“We are grateful that the DOH brings its services on mental health in a fun and engaging approach, which we look forward to adopting in our respective localities,” the mayor added.
Likewise, DOH-CAR Health Promotions Unit Head Geeny Anne Austria presented the project dubbed Project RISE UP or Reaching Individuals for Self-Empowerment through Unified Partnership. It aims to promote self-empowerment and mental health through unified collaboration with various stakeholders.
Also present during the event who pledged their commitment to a Healthy Pilipinas were Mountain Province Congressman Maximo Dalog, Jr.,; Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr.,; Tadian Mayor and League of Municipalities in the Philippines-Mountain Province Chapter President Constito Masweng; Bauko Mayor Randolph Awisan; Provincial Administrator Franklin Odsey, MPSPC President Edgar Cue, Development Management Officer V of the DOH-Provincial Office Michael Capuyan, Jr., ; Chief of Behavior Change and Social Mobilization Division Dr. Alfonso Miguel Regala; Provincial Health Officer Dr. Annie Claire Pekas; Dr. Dalome Peckley from the Department of Education-Mountain Province Schools Division Office; and the Municipal Health Officers from the different municipalities of Mountain Province.
Meanwhile, a Battle of the Bands was conducted in the afternoon while the activity booths were also opened. The songs performed by the band- participants are related to mental health and well-being.