President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law Republic Act No. 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law that would secure, among others, the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, author and principal sponsor of the bill in the Senate, revealed this as she lauded the signing of the measure that she said would set the path for the government’s policy in integrating mental health care in the country’s public healthcare system.
“Help is finally here,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Thursday.
“This is the victory of the different advocates who helped in crafting the bill and ensured its passage from the time we filed it last October 2016. I am glad and honored to be a messenger of hope for the numerous mental health professionals, persons with mental health concerns, youth and students who lent their voice in order for this landmark legislation to see the light of day,” she added.
The bill was principally authored by Senate by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and co-authored by Senators Loren Legarda, Sonny Trillanes, Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, and Joel Villanueva.
Hontiveros said the law will not only secure the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs and mental health professionals but it would also provide mental health services down to the barangays; integrate psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurologic services in regional, provincial, and tertiary hospitals; improve the country’s mental health care facilities; and promote mental health education in schools and workplaces.
“Every day, seven (7) Filipinos turn to suicide. 1 in 5 Filipino adults also suffers from a form of mental disorder. The Mental Health Law cements the government’s commitment to a more holistic approach to healthcare: without sound mental health there can be no genuine physical health,” she said.
“No longer shall Filipinos suffer silently in the dark. The people’s mental health issues will now cease to be seen as an invisible sickness spoken only in whispers. Finally, help is here,” the senator added. /kga