Press Release
October 14, 2016

Hontiveros lauds DOH AO on mental health

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros today has lauded the Department of Health (DOH) for signing an Administrative Order that spelled out a comprehensive framework on how mental health programs will be implemented throughout the country.

The AO provides a policy framework of how the mental health program will be implemented at all levels of the health system, like health rural units, the barangay health stations, and even in the communities.

The DOH AO is complemented by Hontiveros' Senate Bill No. 1190 otherwise known as the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2016.

Hontiveros, who is Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said the AO, which was recently signed by Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, is a great boost to the campaign to pass a law to ensure the mental health rights of all Filipinos.

"It is a step in the right direction. It creates added momentum in our desire to pass a comprehensive mental health law to capably respond to the mental health needs of the people," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros' bill seeks to identify and solidify the rights of persons with mental health needs such as the right to receive mental health services at all levels of the health care system. The bill is also pushing for the establishment of psychiatric and neurologic service in regional, provincial, and all tertiary level hospitals, recognition of other forms of treatment/non-medical alternatives and integration of mental health in the education curriculum," she said.

Philippine data reveals that about 1 in 5 adult Filipinos suffer from mental or psychiatric disorder, with the youth sector said to be one of the most vulnerable sectors when it comes to mental health. Equally alarming, the number of suicide cases in the country has steadily risen over a period of 20 years from 1992 to 2012.

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