With a rising number of suicide and mental health-related cases, Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the mental health bill into law.
The bill was ratified in the Senate last month and will lapse into law on June 21.
“Hindi ba mas magandang pirmahan ito kaya patuloy akong nananawagan, lalo na in the wake of itong mga tuloy-tuloy na pagpapakamatay: nakakalungkot itong kina Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain sa U.S., pero tuluy-tuloy din dito sa Pilipinas,” Hontiveros said.
Recent data her office gathered showed that seven Filipinos commit suicide each day—still the lowest rate in Southeast Asia but still considered as an alarming data.
The same data gathered by Hontiveros’s office likewise stated that around 17 percent of Filipino youth have thought of committing suicide at one point in their life, 12 percent have tried once, and 11 percent said they planned to do it.
“Wala pong sinisino ang depression. Pinakalaganap pa rin na problema ito. Kaya’t hindi po nawawala ng urgency na maisabatas na ang mental health bill at maisagawa ito sa pamumuno ng Department of Health at sa tulong ng Department of Education, lahat po ng tertiary level regional and provincial hospitals pababa sa mga barangay at sa tulong nga mga doctor at iba pa. Maging sa ating mga paaralan mahalara rin yung anti-stigma,” Hontiveros said
There will also be a massive information drive once this takes effect into law, she added.
Among the objectives of the proposed mental health act is to provide PhilHealth coverage for mental health patients’ confinement, check-ups and medicines, and the opening up of units dedicated for them to be attended by psychiatrists, doctor, nurse and other health workers.
“Para makapag-diagnose at makapag-refer pati sa mga barangay, community-based na mental health program at outpatient services lalo na sa barangay. At last but not the least, yung anti-stigma at anti-discrimination programs pati sa ating mga paaralan,” Hontiveros said.
The senator, meantime, expressed her “openness” to discuss and possibly adjust to the controversial provisions of the SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) Bill.