Philippine Standard time

Underscoring the Mental Health Agenda in the Philippines

This paper aims to refocus attention on the mental health agenda, emphasizing the continued inadequacy in addressing the issue despite the issuance of the National Mental Health Policy in 2001 and the enactment of the Mental Health Act in 2018. It examines the current mental health situation, considers the initiatives undertaken by the Department of Health, identifies the issues and challenges confronting the mental health sector, and provides an overview of existing legislative proposals. The paper reveals that the country’s mental health situation, exacerbated by the pandemic, has not gained sufficient priority and attention even with its evident decline. The scenario was already worrisome pre-Covid 19, and then more so after. Social stigma, high treatment cost, limited primary care, low public spending on the sector, and lack of a national registry of cases present further complications. To underscore the mental health agenda, key recommendations include the passage of a telemedicine law, increased visibility for the Philippine Mental Health Council, reassessment of mental health integration in the education system, democratization of mental health service access through PhilHealth, and greater representation in the budgetary allocations, among other measures.


This publication has been cited time(s).