What the unanimous approval of the Comprehensive Mental Health Act means for us

By Celene Sakurako

According to the Philippine Department of Health (DOH), one in five Filipino adults suffer with some form of mental illness, with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, being the top three disorders. Every year, close to 800,000 people die due to suicide, and even more attempt suicide. Among 15 to 29 year-olds, suicide brought on by depression is the second leading cause of death, and the suicide rate for men is 2.5 for every 100,000 people, and 1.7 for women as said by the DOH’s National Center for Mental Health.

Yesterday, Nov. 20, we hit a milestone when the House of Representatives approved House Bill 6452, a.k.a. the proposed “Comprehensive Mental Health Act,” on its third and final reading, with a vote of 223 in the affirmative, zero in the negative, and zero abstentions. That’s 223 unanimous votes for the bill. So, with that being said, what does that mean for us?

Accessibility of mental health care

Mental health care will be more accessible for everyone, as it will be integrated into the general health delivery system, particularly for programs run by the DOH and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the mentally disabled persons.

Education of mental health

Elementary and secondary schools will promote the study of mental health. By including it in the educational system, students will be more aware of a disease that plagues the nation; the classes aims to prevent depression, obesity, and teenage pregnancy among students.

Protection of those suffering with mental health

Aside from promising the best available mental health care for those in need, the bill as a law will protect those suffering with a mental illness, or those going through care for a mental illness.

Now, these are only some of the main things that the bill will bring, as specifics are yet to be sorted out (if it’s passed by law), but we’ve got our fingers crossed. As for whether the bill will be passed, that all lies in the signature of our president. We’re counting on you, Duts. Do the right thing for once.

Photo from Inquirer.net

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