MANILA, Philippines – Dr. Willie Ong, the Vice Presidential candidate for Aksyon Demokratiko, suggested that investing in creating more green spaces in the country is a good way for the government to help its citizens’ mental health.
Dr. Ong emphasized that the effect of green spaces within the community’s mental health is backed up by scientific evidence, like the 2018 study conducted in Philadelphia wherein the residents’ mental health has improved when their open spaces were turned into green spaces.
There is a recommended ratio of green space per inhabitant that the country’s urban centers need to meet, Ong emphasized.
“Tayo sa Metro Manila, meron lang tayong approximately five square meters of green open space per inhabitant. ‘Yung World Health Organization nine square meters ang recommended (Metro Manila has an approximate of only five square meters of green open space per inhabitant. The World Health Organization recommends nine square meters),” he said.
He added that green spaces contribute to boosting life satisfaction, to encouraging people to be more productive as they engage in social activities, and to brightening up urban areas.
Dr. Ong urged the government to build open spaces like skateboard and bike parks and running tracks as sources of relaxation and physical activities.
Ong, presidential candidate Isko Moreno’s running mate, said mental health would be one of his priorities should he win the elections, during his political party’s proclamation rally last Feb. 8.
In line with giving importance to mental health, he also said he wants to ensure there are psychiatrists and affordable medicines available for the public as provided by the government.
The Department of Health’s official website’s Mental Health Program section stated that the The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 154 million people suffer from depression.
The website also included that a DOH research in 2006 revealed that 32% out of the 327 participating government employees in the study have experienced a mental health problem in their lifetime; and a DOH research in 2003 showed that Intentional self-harm is the 9th leading cause of death among the 20-24 years old.
Source: Philippine News Agency