Last January 22, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III signed on the IRR of Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Law, which will provide basic mental health services all the way to the local barangays and increase the capacities of mental health professionals.
Among these services include harmonization of protocols and operating manuals, psychiatric and psychosocial services in DOH-retained medical centers and other tertiary hospitals, and psychiatric abuse neurological services to ensure that hospitals can address certain mental health issues.
Duque hopes that the Mental Health Law will put an end to the stigma associated with mental illnesses, “The goal is to start the conversation. It is high time that we talk about mental health as a serious issue. It is time that we bring mental illness out of its shadows and into the light.”
Mental health cases
He says the number of cases of patients with mental health issues are increasing, with four percent of the population (around 3.5 million Filipinos) having mental illnesses. According to him the causes are both economic and social in nature like poverty, malnutrition, peer pressure and emotional trauma.
“This is important because we want to send a message to those living with mental illness that you are not alone. We want to support you. There is hope. Recovery is possible. There is no shame in talking about your condition and getting help,” Duque adds.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 100 million people suffer from mental health disorders in the Western Pacific region.