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8 Reasons Why the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2014

Should be Passed as a Law
There’s so much for us to know about mental health.
By Ian Benedict Mia | November 2, 2015

It’s annoying how people use terms for mental disorders so loosely (i.e. some of the
common ones are depressive, bipolar, delusional and autistic), and sometimes label
others to have a particular disorder with just the basis of initial observations. Mental
disorders are not just “labels” for people who you think have problems, but they are
actual diagnoses of their mental health.

This just shows how generally unaware we are about mental health, and that we
definitely need a mental health law in our country. Senator Loren Legarda has filed
the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2014 in November last year, but it hasn’t moved
much since. Here are 8 reasons why we should support the enactment of this law.

8. Only 0.05 psychiatrists per 100,000
people in the country
In the Philippines, there are a very limited number of psychiatrists certified by the
Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA) who can help Filipinos with mental health

7. Cases of depression
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2011 that the Philippines has the
highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia. In 2004 alone, the Department of
Health reported 4.5 million cases of depression.

6. Suicide rates
You’ve heard various reports of people committing suicide, especially among the
youth. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, PH suicide rate increased
alarmingly from 1984 to 2005 In 2012, 2558 cases of suicide were recorded.

Also. 2. The country and natural disasters The aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda did not just leave various infrastructural damages. Apathy Let’s face it. even in the medical community. the most recent was the one filed by Senator Loren Legarda. . 4. Lack of mental health facilities A 2006 WHO report stated that the Philippines spends only 5% of the total health budget on mental health and most of which go to the operation and maintenance of mental hospitals. most Filipinos easily dismiss mental health disorders because we don’t know enough about it. The exact reason for the delay of enacting the law cannot be identified because of the lack of information available in the Philippine Congress’ website. Thus. Being indifferent to these people would only bring them more harm than good. mental health facilities in the country are mostly located only in major cities. So far. This is the same case among other typhoons that hit the country. Very slow process of enacting a mental health law Members of the PPA have been trying to get in touch with the Philippine Congress for the past 15 years to legislate a mental health act. many look down on psychiatry as a medical practice. 1. 3. but also caused mental health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder to the people affected. Bernardino Vicente agreed that. we tend to label other people various terms like abnoy. mongoloid or even tanga or bobo. Filipinos looking down on psychiatry National Center for Mental Health Dr.5.

March 13. 2015 It is alarming that many youth today are contemplating on hurting themselves and ending their lives. strangled himself to death because he cannot bear the stress of being investigated for a multi- million loan grant to a businessman. 2015 Updated 12:18 PM.  A bipolar socialite model fell from her condo in an apparent suicide.  A freshman scholar of a state university took her own life after she was forced to be on leave from the university due to her unpaid tuition. Mental health problems in the country has long been dismissed and not given any priority at all' Hazel Delgado Planco Published 12:18 PM. who worked for a well-known bank. when they should be planning for their future.What do you think? Do you know someone who has a mental health problem? Why we need a mental health law in PH 'Every Filipino should be entitled to mental health programs and services. Do you still remember the following cases of suicide being in the news?  A controversial former military chief shot himself in the chest while visiting his mother's grave. . March 13.  A student from an international school jumped to his death after he was accused of plagiarism by his teacher.  A young lawyer.

Is this the current trend or is this a result of media sensationalizing the news on suicide? Is it true that many Filipinos are now afflicted with mental and emotional disabilities? How can we save the youth from being a suicide fatality? How can we save the future generation from the claws of death? Do we really need to have high statistics on suicide as proof that it deserves our full attention before we do something about it? Mental health of the Filipino youth In 2014. the indiscriminate stalker) Unipolar depressive disorders is one of the projected leading causes of disease and injury burden by 2030.  A family of 5 on a completed suicide-murder case (as facilitated by the parents) after their business went bankrupt.3 million young people worldwide died because of suicide. In 2012 alone. (Read:Depression. and unable to pay her boarding house forcing her to quit school.  A recent case of an alleged suicide attempt by a young politician with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Furthermore. The media will continue to report the fatalities and government agencies will again be pointing fingers at each other. The Filipino people will continue with their lives. continuing to bear the emotional and psychological burden not just on their shoulders but also in their worn out minds. If adolescents with mental health problems get the care they need. the report “Health for the World’s Adolescents" by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years old. again due to financial problems. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents. the report stated that half of all the people who develop mental disorders show their first symptoms at the age of 14. a Northern Luzon State University first year student opted to end her life because she was not able to take her midterm examinations. The list goes on and on.  And just this March. an estimated 1. And since the burden of depression and other mental health . according to the 2004 WHO Global Burden of Disease Report. their deaths or suffering throughout life can be prevented.

as support to push the passing of this law.such as engaging in negative and escapist behaviors. and where to get help. the World Health Assembly. A research conducted by Lapeña. But they also noted how other strategies that the youth use . As a non-profit organization. called for a comprehensive. (READ: Can Facebook stop you from committing suicide?) The Natasha Goulbourn Foundation has been actively campaigning awareness on depression and suicide prevention. which aims to protect the rights of people with mental disorders and disabilities by putting in place an official body that will oversee the policies and programs that need to be developed to prevent and treat mental illnesses. supports and campaigns for the initiative of the Philippine Psychiatric Association's (PPA) Mental Health Act. and talking about the problem. acting out. The Philippine Mental Health Act of 2014 has already been filed in the Senate by Sen Loren Legarda. or simply ignoring the problem .Org. actively resolving. the President of NGF. it has many limitations in reaching out to every corner of this country since its operations rely solely on donations.conditions are seen to be on the rise globally. . however. in a resolution issued in May 2012. That's why Jean Goulbourn.seeking help. excessive drinking. coordinated response to mental disorders from health and social sectors at the country level. Yet. The researchers recognized that some of the youth's coping strategies are positive . what people can do to help the depressed.are not desirable. is still ongoing atChange. Filipino youth are able to cope with their difficulties by relying on their inner resources. but the online petition for signature from the public. Tarroja. This research showed that even without intervention. Tirazona & Fernando of DLSU-SDRC on the Filipino youth’s views on mental health revealed that the problems confronting the youth include lack of resources and conflict within themselves or with others. the foundation is doing its best to maximize every opportunity to educate the Filipino people about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. taking drugs. the Filipino youth still needs to be guided and led towards mental health interventions that are available to cater to their needs and to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health problems. as well as to seeing a mental health professional. But of course.

it's better late than never. No wonder the Earth Institute of Columbia University revealed in the 2012 World Happiness Report that the Philippines only ranked 103rd among 155 countries and is considered to be one of the least happy countries in Southeast Asia. The country spend millions and billions for the never-ending investigations on pork barrel scams.Rappler. If we continue to just shrug our shoulders and dismiss this issue. Mental health problems in the country has long been dismissed and not given any priority at all. To raise mindstrong Filipinos is to raise the nation's competency and resilience while fostering hope and optimism and strengthening the holistic wellness of the Filipinos. repressed. To invest in mental health is to invest in national development. ill-gotten wealth. As they . and distressed. In order to build a mindstrong nation and be armed with socio-economically and psychologically competent citizens. prevent mental illness. Every Filipino should be entitled to mental health programs and services. Let us make our voices heard and show the government the pressing need for a mental health law. we must first acknowledge the fact that there are no programs and policies designed to protect the mentally ill. and promote mental health in the country at present. . Let us support the Mental Health Act. while more and more Filipinos become oppressed. multi-million infrastructure projects gone wrong etc. It is for our own protection from the multi-faceted mental health problems that each of us Filipinos deal with every day. depressed and mentally unstable citizenry. anxious. the Philippines will remain a third world country plagued not just by corruption but with corrupted minds from the lack of awareness and services that will cater to the mental. Let us not be a country of weary. and these drag on for years yet still remains unsolved. We are responsible for our own psychological health.Unhappy citizens. emotional and psychological well-being of its people. unhappy country It has long been overdue. This.

and middle-income countries.000 Filipinos. the Philippines is one of those countries that has yet to pass a national law on mental health. despite the alarming statistics. according to leading psychologists and psychiatrists. In 2004 alone. The lack of such a law. She likes to write about poignant subjects that arouses her interests. 75 percent of global suicides occur in low. .009 males. It added that a national policy or a national prevention program is imperative to preventing suicide. may well be among the reasons our suicide rate continues to rise.5 million cases of depression. Startlingly. The DOH likewise suggested that. 2000).558 Filipinos committed suicide.” It also said that. only 30 will seek help. the Department of Health (DOH) reported over 4. because suicides statistics are vulnerable to under-reporting in a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines. they probably represent only a portion of the whole. suicide rate in the country from 1984 to 2005 increased alarmingly. But these numbers don’t necessarily tell the entire story. and the rest females.” The WHO report also noted that suicide is a major health problem that occurs in almost every part of the world. In 2012. “of 90 depressives. though there is no definitive consensus on this. a total of 2. According to the WHO. Mental health in the Philippines In 2011. In the Philippines. the World Health Organization (WHO) named the Philippines as the country with the highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia. She assents to Sri Sri's words of wisdom that the ultimate purpose of life is to be of service because service is the expression of love.. Mental illness: the 3rd most common form of morbidity among Filipinos (NSO. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority. traveler and animal lover who is engaged in various NGO work. Hazel Delgado Planco is a teacher. adding that the Southeast Asian region made up over a third of the annual rate. poet. only 28 countries have policies addressing suicide incidents. for example. 2. The other 60 will suffer the symptoms but will be ashamed to seek help because of the stigma associated with the illness. Prevalence of Mental Illness Prevalence of Mental Illness Prevalence Rate of Mental Illness in the Philippines 17 to 20% of the adult population have 'psychiatric disorders' and 10 to 15 % of children (aged 5 to 15) are believed to have mental problems. Sadly. “Suicide impacts on the most vulnerable of the world’s populations and is highly prevalent in already marginalized and discriminated groups of society.You can watch and share the PPA’s official petition video here and here.. THE FILIPINO MENTAL HEALTH 1 in 5 adult Filipinos have ‘psychiatric disorders’ There is an average of 88 reported cases of mental illness per 100.Sign the petition for the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2014.

8 %.200-bed in National Center for Mental Health -1.05 psychiatrists per 100. prevalence rates from developed countries ranged from 8% to 32.265 are distributed all over the country. Source: DOH Health Policy Notes.According to Ladrido-Ignacio. to increase the percentage of level 1 and 2 hospitals with outpatient psychiatric clinic or Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU) from an unknown baseline to 100% by 2016. most health insurance companies still don’t cover mental health-related issues. 2008) THE FILIPINO MENTAL HEALTH STATISTICS Of the 1. According to the WHO. 311 Prevalence of Mental Illness of mental health problems in sampled household respondents Frequently Reported Symptoms According to WHO. 1 in 5 people suffer from mental health problems worldwide. 14 percent – or over 200. Volume 3: Issue 5 (November.000 people – had mental disability.25 Thursday. and the stigma still weighs heavily on people suffering from mental illness. July 3. Breakthrough goals the Department of Health (DOH) announced two breakthrough goals to improve the delivery of mental health services. the lifetime prevalence of mental illness globally is estimated at 20% at any given population. 50 percent of adults who consult at rural health centers were diagnosed to have some form of psychological illness in remote barrios $1. yet there are only 0. 490 psychiatrists for 100 million Filipinos Year 2014 A total of 5. .4 million Filipinos with disabilities identified in the 2010 National Census. Data from developing countries showed a much higher prevalence ranging from 11% to 44%. 2015 Vol XCIII. to increase the number of provinces that have integrated mental health services and programs into their primary and secondary health care systems from 0 to 10 by 2016.465-bed capacity for mental disorders -4. According to the WMH survey consortium in 2004.000 people in the Philippines. No.