House Approves Mental Health Bill

According to the Department of Health (DOH), there are more than 4.5 million cases of depression in the Philippines. This report was released in 2004 and the number is more likely to be much higher considering the fact that many are still suffering in silence because of the stigma associated with mental disorders. Severe cases can even lead to death as the person suffering from depression, schizophrenia and other mental disorders are not given proper care because family members are not fully aware of the signs and symptoms that they often dismiss it as mood swings. Depression is even misconstrued for laziness, not knowing that sufferers are experiencing more than just the blues and blahs. In most cases, it is already too late for family members to realize that the person is suffering from mental disorder. 

These mental disorders can lead to suicide and most parents will even claim that they do not see a change in behavior in their children prior to committing such an act. However, there is more to depression and other mental disorders than meets the eye. If someone considers these disorders as a mere figment of one's imagination and it is all in the mind, the Mental Health Bill approved by the house of representatives will somehow shed light on the matter and make people more conscious.

House Bill Number 6452 or the "Comprehensive Mental Health Act" ensures that every person gains access to the best available mental health care. 

Objectives of Mental Health Act:

a. Ensure a community of Filipinos who are mentally healthy, able to contribute to the development of the country and attain a better quality of life through access to an integrated, well-planned, effectively organized and efficiently delivered mental health care system that responds to their mental health needs inequity with their physical needs; 

b . Promote mental health, protection of the rights and freedoms of persons with mental health needs and the reduction of the burden and consequences of mental health, mental and brain disorders and disabilities;

c.  Provide the direction for a coherent, rational, and unified response and efforts to address the nation's mental health problems and concerns;

d.  Integrate mental health care in the general health delivery system, especially in the programs of the Department of Health and the Department of Interior and Local Government for the mentally disabled persons; and

e.  Integrate, introduce and promote the study of mental health in both elementary and secondary educational systems to prevent depression, obesity, and teenage pregnancy among students of this age group. 

The bill will be enacted into a law before the year ends. 

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney