MANILA - Senator Risa Hontiveros said Thursday it is high-time for the Philippines to pass its own Mental Health Law.
Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, noted that the Philippines has the highest number of depressed people in Southeast Asia.
She said 1 in 5 adult Filipinos suffer from mental or psychiatric disorder. This represents an average of 88 reported cases of mental illness for every 100,000 Filipinos.
The number of suicide cases in the country has steadily risen over a period of 20 years from 1992 to 2012, Hontiveros explained.
Hontiveros pitched for the passage of the mental health law in a press conference with health advocates, as well as former Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani and Jerika Ejercito, daughter of former President Joseph Estrada.
Ejercito narrated her personal experience when she suffered from depression for 12 years. She also related the scourge of illegal drugs to mental health.
"Stop persecuting the so-called addicts. Wala pong taong pinanganak na addict," said Ejercito.