Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on June 21 lauded President Rodrigo Duterte‘s signing into law of Republic Act No. 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law.
Hontiveros, who is the author and principal sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said that the signing of the landmark measure will set the path for the government’s policy in integrating mental healthcare in the country’s public healthcare system.
“Help is finally here,” Hontiveros said.
“This is the victory of the different advocates who helped in crafting the bill and ensured its passage from the time we filed it last October 2016. I am glad and honored to be a messenger of hope for the numerous mental health professionals, persons with mental health concerns, youth and students who lent their voice in order for this landmark legislation to see the light of day,” Hontiveros said.
The measure was also authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Loren Legarda, Sonny Trillanes, Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara and Joel Villanueva.
Hontiveros explained that the law will secure the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs and mental health professionals, provide mental health services down to the barangays, integrate psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurologic services in regional, provincial, and tertiary hospitals, improve our mental healthcare facilities and promote mental health education in our schools and workplaces.
“Every day, 7 Filipinos turn to suicide. 1 in 5 Filipino adults also suffer from a form of mental disorder. The Mental Health Law cements the government’s commitment to a more holistic approach to healthcare: without sound mental health there can be no genuine physical health,” Hontiveros said.
“No longer shall Filipinos suffer silently in the dark. The people’s mental health issues will now cease to be seen as an invisible sickness spoken only in whispers. Finally, help is here,” Hontiveros ended.