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Comprehensive Mental Health Bill
« on: November 20, 2017, 09:12:07 PM »
Assistant Majority Leader
Twitter: @Kabayan_Ron


With a vote of resounding 223-0-0, the House of Representatives approved this afternoon (November 20, 2017) its Comprehensive Mental Health Bill on third and final reading.

HB 6452 is a consolidation of 10 bills on mental health, including HB 1040, which I filed. HB 6452 seeks to address the lack of a law to specifically address the mental health of Filipinos through a comprehensive mental health program.

The Senate already has a proposed Mental Health Act (SB 1354) (!.pdf), which passed third and final reading.

I hope a bicam conference can convene this December and February. If both chambers move fast enough, we could have the law on mental health by March next year.

The Department of Health estimate on fatal suicide in the country is at five Filipinos everyday but that figure is considered low because of under-reporting due to social stigma attached to suicide and mental health problems.

More Filipinos can come out of the shadows of social stigma if only they knew that some mental health problems are covered by PhilHealth. Yes, there is PhilHealth coverage for mental health issues:

One study, using data spanning 1974 to 2005, observed that “there was a decrease in the incidence of suicide in the 1970s and early 1980s, but since then rates have been steadily increasing in both sexes; rates rose from 0.23 to 3.59 per 100,000 between 1984 and 2005 in males and from 0.12 to 1.09 per 100,000 in females.”

Noting that suicide is quite high among teenagers and young adults, I am calling on the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education, and Department of Interior and Local Government to design and roll out intervention measures the youth can connect with when they are in emotional trouble. The CHED can use the Higher Education Development Fund or their funds for research. DILG involvement in this effort is needed for the out-of-school youth. (END)

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