The Department of Health (DOH) today launched the NCMH (National Center for Mental Health) CRISIS HOTLINE, a new crisis hotline for all who are undergoing any mental health crisis including suicide prevention, as provided for in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11036 otherwise known as Mental Health Act.

The said IRR mandated DOH to develop a national suicide prevention strategy as part of its National Mental Health Program. This includes mechanisms for suicide intervention, prevention, and response strategies, with particular attention to the concerns of the youth.

Hence the launch of the new NCMH CRISIS HOTLINE, which can be reached at 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP) operated 24/7. The crisis hotline fulfills the mandate in the IRR that states, “… a twenty-four (24/7) hotline, to provide assistance to individuals with mental health conditions, especially individuals at risk of committing suicide, shall be set-up and existing hotlines be strengthened.”

The DOH, in partnership with other agencies and stakeholders, was tasked to develop policies and guidelines on establishing hotlines and suicide prevention strategies linked to emergency and support services.  In the Philippines, a cursory glance at the landscape of crisis hotlines operating in the country shows an assortment of agencies and stakeholders with services that can become a great resource when linked together and operating under certain guidelines and standards.

In response to the mandate of the Mental Health Act, the DOH is taking action through the National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline to respond to the needs of those in any mental health crisis, respond to queries on all issues related to mental health and the mental health law, provide information, initial counselling as necessary and proper triaging to capable mental health professionals or health facilities among others.

“We certainly need the support of everyone as the DOH cannot do this alone. Everyone is enjoined to support the dissemination of the hotline numbers. Other support groups, mental health professionals are also enjoined to be part of the network of service providers so that we may serve our people well and keep them mentally healthy because there is no health without mental health, and perhaps save a life in the process” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III concluded.