MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill integrating mental health in the general healthcare system, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Thursday.
Duterte approved the Mental Health Law or Republic Act 11036 on Wednesday, a day before it lapsed into law, Hontiveros' office told ABS-CBN News.
The measure provides PhilHealth coverage for mental health patients’ confinement, check-ups and medicines, and the opening of units dedicated for them to be attended by health workers.
"RA 11036 cements the government’s commitment to a more holistic approach to healthcare: that there is no health without mental health," Hontiveros said in a statement.
"No longer shall Filipinos suffer silently in the dark. Mental health issues will now cease to be seen as an invisible sickness spoken only in whispers," she added.
Before the law's passage, PhilHealth only covered hospitalization brought about by acute attacks of mental and behavioral disorders at a package rate of P7,800, said Sen. Sonny Angara.
"We hope that in the drafting of the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations), free psychiatric consultations and medicines shall be made available for all Filipinos," he said in a statement.
"We commend President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law the Mental Health Act," the lawmaker added.
Seven Filipinos commit suicide each day while 1 in 5 adults also suffer from a form of mental disorder, noted Hontiveros.
Advocates had pushed for legislation on mental healthcare for 2 decades, she earlier said.
A group in the Philippines is dedicated to addressing those who have mental health problems.
The crisis hotlines of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation aim to make these individuals feel that someone is ready to listen to them.
These are their hotline numbers:
Information and Crisis Intervention Center
(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917-558-HOPE (4673) or (632) 211-4550
0917-852-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-6876
0917-842-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-4084
In Touch Crisis Lines:
0917-572-HOPE or (632) 211-1305
(02) 893-7606 (24/7)
(02) 893-7603 (Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm)
Globe (63917) 800.1123 or (632) 506.7314
Sun (63922) 893.8944 or (632) 346.8776