The government has stopped supporting our local mental health hotline

Editor’s note: This article was edited to acknowledge the existence of DOH and NCMH’s mental health hotline.

Our local suicide prevention hotline needs our help.

Hopeline Philippines reported that the Department of Health (DOH) and National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) no longer supports them. Yesterday, they reported operations will continue despite lack of government assistance. 

Last Jun. 25, Hopeline Philippines announced with a heavy heart that “the Hopeline Philippines [will] cease to operate starting July 1.” This is due to DOH and NCMH withdrawing their support for the hotline. 

Read more: Why it’s completely okay to hire people with mental health disorders

But thanks to corporations and individual donors, Hopeline soldiers on. “We are beyond grateful for the continuous support of [Globe] corporations, and individual donors and of course, Natasha Goulbourn Foundation,” they stated in their tweet. 

Inquirer reports Hopeline partnered with DOH and NCMH back in 2016. “Despite the withdrawal, Hopeline has also set up a GoGetFunding account to help raise funds to continue their services.”

Read more: How Anthony Bourdain taught young depressed creatives like me to be brave

We’re glad that Hopeline’s operations still continues. After passing the Mental Health Bill back in 2018, it’s confusing with these government bodies stopped their support. This decision could be due to the government launching their own crisis hotline. 

DOH and NCMH launched a mental health crisis hotline last May 2. In Rappler’s report, “Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the crisis hotline is operated by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), which has trained respondents to properly deal with those in need 24/7.”

It still doesn’t make sense why the government can’t support both. After all, our country’s mental health should be a big priority.

Read more: You can avail help from your barangay soon through the Mental Health Law

“Every day, 7 Filipinos turn to suicide. One in 5 Filipino adults also suffer from a form of mental disorder. RA 11036 cements the government’s commitment to a more holistic approach to healthcare: that there is no health without mental health,” said Senator Risa Hontiveros, author and principal sponsor of the mental health bill.

Read more: This student short film about mental health is going to Cannes

You can continue supporting the Hopeline by donating on their GoFundMe account. The government’s crisis hotline can be reached through these numbers:

0917-899-USAP (8727)
0917-989-8727

Art by Marx Fidel

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