The Philippine Senate building in Manila. The senate has passed a national mental health policy bill that will establish basic mental health services in communities and more specialized mental health services in hospitals. (Photo by Voltaire Domingo)
The Philippine Senate passed on May 2 a national mental health policy bill, the first of its kind in the country.
The proposed Philippine Mental Health Law mandates the government establish basic mental health services in communities and psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurological services in all hospitals.
"We are now one step closer to realizing a national mental health law to comprehensively address Filipinos' mental health needs," said Senator Risa Hontiveros, the main proponent of the measure.
She said the proposed law would ensure that people with mental health needs "will no longer suffer silently in the dark."
"They will no longer endure an invisible illness and fight an invisible war," said the senator.
The World Health Organization reported that more than 2,500 cases annually of Filipinos committing suicide.
The Philippines' Department of Health said at least one in five Filipino adults have some form of mental illness, with schizophrenia, depression and anxiety topping the incidents of disorder.