The Filipino people today scored another victory with the signing of Republic Act 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The said law seeks to establish a national mental health policy directed towards improving the health of the population. It also underscores the basic right of all Filipinos to mental health care while shaping the structural and attitudinal challenges to achieving positive mental health.
Specifically, it aims to provide mental health services at the barangay level, and integrate mental health and wellness programs in the grassroots level so that interventions will be felt by the communities. It also seeks to improve mental health facilities and to promote mental health education in schools and workplaces. Mechanisms for suicide intervention, prevention, and response strategies, with particular attention to the concerns of the youth, will be part of the national mental health program.
“The DOH thanks President Duterte for signing this law and all the members of both Houses of Congress for facilitating the whole process, and the mental health professional groups who labored tirelessly for decades to have this law passed. This demonstrates the seriousness of the government and its partners to uplift the mental health of the population and ensure the welfare and rights of those with mental, neurological and substance use disorders,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.
The measures contained in the Mental Health Law are anchored on the Fourmula One Plus strategy, namely: Governance, Health Financing, Service Delivery, Regulations, and Performance Accountability.
Foremost, this law will provide for the creation of the Philippine Council for Mental Health (PCMH) composed of the following: Secretary of DOH as Chairperson; Secretary of DepEd; Secretary of DOLE; Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG); Chairperson of CHR; Chairperson of CHED; one representative from the academe/research; one representative from medical or health professional organizations; and one representative from non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in mental health issues. The Council will be responsible for developing and providing oversight functions in the implementation of a national mental health plan.
The budget to be used for its operation will be taken initially from the 2018 DOH budget. For succeeding years, funds will come from the National Expenditure Program be based on the General Appropriation Bill
Beneficiaries of this law include persons experiencing any mental health condition, their families, carers and other appointed legal representatives.
This law is otherwise known as “An Act Establishing a National Mental Health Policy for the purpose of Enhancing the Delivery of Integrated Mental Health Services, Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Persons Utilizing Psychiatric, Neurologic and Psychosocial Health Services, Appropriating Funds therefor, and for Other Purposes.”