MANILA — The government has expressed interest in improving mental health care in the Philippines, according to the president of Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA).
According to Dr. Dinah Nadera, head of the research committee of PPA, more doctors will be able to treat patients with mental problems and more local hospitals will have space for psychiatric patients.
She added that the government has laid down the plans to integrate mental health to cases of suicides and mental illness among the Filipinos.
“As of April 30, the national government has defined two national breakthrough goals for mental health promotion and the prevention of mental illness,” said Nadera in a health forum in Quezon City on Tuesday.
Nadera shared that the primary goal of the government includes mainstreaming the importance of mental health in healthcare.
“This also means that even general practitioners are now being trained to handle common mental problems, including depression and psychosis,” she said.
“This will cover 80 percent of primary healthcare physicians in selected provinces,” Nadera added.
The second goal of the government is to develop acute psychiatric care standards in hospitals.
“The situation now is that psychiatric facilities are stand-alone and you rarely see psychiatric wards in general hospital settings except in big and training hospitals. The trend now is in the direction of creating acute psychiatric care, what I mean is, allocating psychiatric beds in general hospitals,” Nadera said.
Both goals are expected to be achieved by 2016.
During the same forum, past PPA president Dr. Zita Soriano said that the organization will review the Mental Health Act in October. PPA has been pushing for the said act for decades in Congress.
This bill aims to make medications for patients with mental illness more accessible, especially in rural health centers. It also seeks to provide adequate training to local health workers in mental healthcare facilities.
According to data from World Health Organization (WHO), mental health problems are ranked four in terms of the top 10 leading causes of disabilities and death worldwide.
By 2030, trends show that depression will rank third of the major risk factors for suicide.
There are no formal records in terms of fatal and non-fatal suicides in the country. But based on studies, suicide is the ninth-cause of mortality among 20 to 24-year-old Filipinos.
In the same age group, according to Nadera, seven out of 10 are men with 85 percent of the cases were carried out at home.