MANILA - Basic mental health services may now be accessed through community health centers after the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Mental Health Law was signed earlier this week.
The IRR was signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III Tuesday, Philippine News Agency reported.
The Mental Health Law, signed in 2018, ensures that there would be sufficient funds to fortify the capacities of psychiatrists and extend mental health services to the barangay level.
"We will broaden mental health services in the community level, psychiatric and psycho-social services in DOH-retained medical centers and other tertiary hospitals," Duque said in a radio interview.
"Ang outpatient services ay palalawigin din natin kaya ang ating mental health packages puwedeng pondohan ng PhilHealth para mabenipisyuhan ang mga families with members with mental health problems," he said.
The government will also launch efforts to eradicate the stigma against mental health, the Health secretary said.
"The goal is to start the conversation. It is high time that we talk about mental health as a serious issue," he said.
"This is important because we want to send a message to those living with mental illness that you are not alone...there is no shame in talking about your condition and getting help," he said.
Some 3.5 million Filipinos, or nearly 4 percent of the population, have mental health problems, he said.