Last June 21, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11036 dubbed as the “Mental Health Act”. It will hopefully protect the normal Filipino from mental health diseases plaguing our society today.
1 in 5 Filipino adults and 1 in 10 Filipino children suffer from a mental health disorder. And according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2014, there have been 2558 cases of suicides due to mental health problems in the Philippines last 2012. That’s 7 Filipinos a day ending their life because of this sickness.
What’s the use of being physically able when your mental health already took its toll? Even strong looking and influential individuals like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade took their own lives in the wake of this problem. Anyone can be a victim. It might have hit you and you wouldn’t even know it.
With this enacted law, we might avoid just that. The law declares the right of every person to the best available mental health-care service for his/her condition. And also, their right against exploitation and discrimination.
This is what you should expect with the rollout of the new PH Mental Act.
Educational Institutions and Workplaces Will Have Mental Health Programs
It all starts with awareness. And integrating this law to where people spend most of their time will surely help out people in need.
It’s hard to open up with your family and friends because of judgment. But if you know that your school or workplace has mental health programs in place, you may approach them first. You might get the professional help you need the soonest time possible.
Support Extends to Barangays as Well
But not everyone is schooling or working. The personal support extends to Barangays as well. Now, people have access to mental health support especially those without the financial capabilities as treatments for this cost a lot.
The law mandates the establishment of community-based mental health care facilities in each municipality in our country.
More Mental Health Facilities, Professionals, and Medicines in Hospitals
The Philippine mental health care system is severely underfunded. Only 7% of public and private hospitals have psychiatric units or wards. The country only has 60 psychiatric healthcare facilities with a staggering one health worker for every 50,000 people. Not to mention, most hospitals don’t have ample generic medicines for mental health illnesses.
With the law, it aims to integrate psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurologic services in regional, provincial, and tertiary hospitals. It also ensures the availability of medicines and mental health professionals in our hospitals.
Treatment for your mental health can be costly. And as of the moment, PhilHealth only covers hospitalization brought about by acute attacks of mental and behavioral disorders at a package rate of P7,800.
The law directs Philhealth to give ample cover not only limited to the ones above but also on psychiatric consultations and medicines. There should be an increase in packages comparable to those covering physical disorders.
Not everyone in the Philippines knows what mental health disorders are exactly. And it’s more difficult for those afflicted to find help when they aren’t taken seriously.
The goal is to inculcate in every individual the understanding of the condition. Hopefully, the information drive with this program will provide lesser discrimination.
When Do We Expect The Actual Rollout?
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) is expected to roll out after 120 days (roughly November).
As for now, if you feel you have some signs of mental health problems, check these 6 ways to help manage depression or go to a mental health professional immediately. With that, let us hope for a more progressive and beneficial implementation of this law.