Press Release
May 2, 2017


"Any day is a great day to discuss the health and wellness of the Filipino. I commend our colleagues, particularly the sponsor, Sen. Hontiveros, and co-author, Majority Floor Leader Sotto, and the rest of the members of the Senate, for going all-out to fight for the approval of this very important measure.

There is no time better than today to chart a national mental health policy for the country. The numbers on mental health problems are staggering, and we can no longer ignore this.

We have the highest incidence of depression among Southeast Asian countries according to a recent World Health Organization study.

Almost one out of every 100 households had a member with a mental disorder, based on a 2004 Department of Health (DOH) survey.

And a DOH study likewise showed that one in three employees from 20 government agencies in Metro Manila had experienced a mental health problem or breakdown at least once in their lifetime - including specific phobias, alcohol abuse and depression.

A Philippine Psychiatric Association survey even revealed that there are only 490 psychiatrists serving in the country today, which means there are roughly 50 qualified psychiatrists for every 10 million Filipinos.

That is why the Senate's passage of the bill is laudable, unquestionably crucial, and undeniably timely.

We are closer to integrating mental health services into the national health system to make it more accessible, affordable and equitable. And we will be needing the help of our friends from the House of Representatives to be able to do it.

I am calling on our House counterparts to prioritize the passage of a similar measure in their chamber." ###

NOTE: Sen. Angara is an author and co-sponsor of the measure

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