Press Release
May 13, 2023

Gatchalian urges the government: Step up vs. 'pandemic of mental health'

Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the government to step up its efforts to address what he calls a 'pandemic of mental health' among Filipinos.

Gatchalian pointed out how the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated Filipinos' vulnerability to mental health problems. In 2019, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) received a total of 3,125 calls, 712 of which were suicide-related calls while 2,413 were other mental health related concerns. That same year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recorded 2,810 deaths by suicide.

In 2020, the year the COVID-19 pandemic struck, calls made to the NCMH more than tripled to 11,017, suicide-related calls almost quadrupled to 2,841, while other mental-related health calls rose to 8,176. That same year, 4,420 deaths by suicide were recorded.

In 2021, calls made to the NCMH rose again to 14,897, 5,1657 of which were suicide-related calls and 9,730 were other mental-health related calls.

"We can see that we are already in a pandemic of mental health, we should already sound the alarm bells. We are already in the danger zone when it comes to mental health. In 2020, more than 4,000 people committed suicide, parang maliit na barangay na 'yan, buong barangay nagpakamatay," said Gatchalian during a public hearing, which reviewed the implementation of the Mental Health Act (Republic Act No. 11036).

While Gatchalian lauded the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation's (PhilHealth) initiative to offer an out-patient financing program, which would increase access to mental health services, he pressed the need for the government to do more on mental health issues.

"I implore the Department of Health and PhilHealth to do everything they can, not only to implement the law, but to care for our constituents," Gatchalian stressed.

Gatchalian also filed as one of his priority measures in this current Congress the Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act (Senate Bill No. 379), which seeks to strengthen the delivery of mental health services in the country's basic education schools.


Gatchalian nanawagan ng maigting na aksyon laban sa 'pandemic of mental health'

Hinimok ni Senador Win Gatchalian ang pamahalaan na paigtingin ang mga hakbang nito upang sugpuin ang tinatawag niyang 'pandemic of mental health' sa mga Pilipino.

Binigyang diin ni Gatchalian kung paano pinalala ng pandemya ng COVID-19 ang mga hamong kinakaharap ng mga Pilipino pagdating sa mental health. Noong 2019, nakatanggap ang National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) ng 3,125 na tawag na may kaugnayan sa problema sa mental health, 712 dito ang may kinalaman sa suicide o pagpapakamatay, at 2,413 ang may kinalaman sa iba pang usapin ng mental health. Noong taong ding iyon, nakapagtala ang Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) ng 2,810 na kaso ng pagpapakamatay.

Noong 2020, taong nagsimula ang pandemya ng COVID-19, mahigit triple o 11,017 ang bilang ng mga tawag na natanggap ng NCMH, umakyat ng mahigit apat na beses o 2,841 ang mga tawag na may kinalaman sa suicide, samantalang umabot naman sa 8,176 ang mga tawag na may kinalaman sa iba pang isyu sa mental health. Noong taong iyon, 4,420 ang nagpakamatay.

Noong 2021, umakyat sa 14,897 ang mga tawag sa NCMH, 5,167 dito ang may kinalaman sa pagpapakamatay, at 9,730 naman ang iba pang mga tawag na may kinalaman sa mental health.

"Nakikita nating nasa pandemic of mental health na tayo at dapat na tayong maalarma. Nasa danger zone na tayo pagdating sa mental health. Noong 2020, mahigit 4,000 na tao ang nagpakamatay, parang maliit na barangay na 'yan, buong barangay nagpakamatay," ani Gatchalian sa isang pagdinig hinggil sa Mental Health Act (Republic Act No. 11036).

Bagama't pinapurihan ni Gatchalian ang out-patient financing program ng Philippine Health Insurance Corporation upang palawigin ang access sa mental health services, iginiit niyang kailangan pa ring paigtingin ng pamahalaan ang aksyon upang tugunan ang mga isyu sa mental health.

"Nananawagan ako sa Department of Health at sa PhilHealth na gawin ang lahat ng kaya nila, hindi lang upang ipatupad ang batas, ngunit para pangalagaan din ang ating mga kababayan," giit ni Gatchalian.

Samantala, isa pang prayoridad ni Gatchalian ang panukalang batas na Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act (Senate Bill No. 379). Layon nito na patatagin at palawigin ang paghahatid ng mental health services sa basic education.

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