Psychology holds forum on Mental Health Bill

The UST Department of Psychology of the College of Science held the Mental Health Act forum featuring Field Implementation and Coordination Team – Luzon Cluster Office of Assistant Secretary Dr. Maria Francia M. Laxamana, MHA, MHSA, CHS, on September 13, 2018 at the Central Laboratory Building.

The Mental Health Act

Executive Assistant Christina Marisfoque, who represented the Assistant Secretary of Health Office for Technical Services of the Department of Health-Central Office Maria Francia Miciano-Laxamana, M.D., gave an update on the status of the Mental Health Act which was signed in June. Its progress prior to its target completion of IRR in November of this year was likewise cited.

Laxamana said Mental Health Act was not only for practitioners but for all the Filipino people who do not actually know, do not see but their suffering.

The state, according to Laxamana, commits to spearhead programs to ensure the well-being of its people and let their mental health be valued, promoted and protected, as well as provide timely affordable and culturally appropriate high value healthcares for the public.

The Mental Health Act, otherwise known as RE 11036, states “an act establishing a national mental health policy for the purpose of enhancing delivery of integrated mental health services, promoting and protecting the rights of persons utilizing psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial health services, appropriating funds therefore and for other purpose.” RA 11036 also aims to banish the stigma of this invisible sickness.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved and signed this bill last June 20, 2018. Senator Risa Hontiveros was the primary author and sponsor of this bill.

On Suicide

In reference to World Health Organization data, Laxamana said around 800, 000 people die yearly due to suicide. “For every suicide, there are many more people who attempt suicide every year.” Laxamana said. “A prior suicide attempt is the single-most important risk factor for suicide. When someone commits suicide, it’is like chain reaction.”

Laxamana noted that it can affect everyone even celebrities.

Protect everyone

Laxamana noted that mental health services and appropriate psychosocial support should not limited to users and patients but also the family members. “You also have to take care of their caregivers. Minsan iyon yung nakakalimutan. Ikaw yung nag-aalaga pero sino ang nag-aalaga sa iyo?” she said. “Mas kinakailangan nila iyon kasi sila yung kinakapitan.”

The UST Psychology Department as a member of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) does not only have a role in disseminating this information but may also have a hand in crafting policies and programs on awareness raising, identifying and providing support and services, and facilitating access for treatment and psycho-social support since educational institutions are encouraged to have an active involvement in the promotion of mental health.

PAP, together with PhilHealth, the Office of Senator Ana Theresia Navarro Hontiveros-Baraquel, the Office of Cong. Christina Roa-Puno, Philippine Mental Health Association, Philippine Psychiatric Association, Psychiatric Association of the Philippines, the Chairperson of the Epilepsy Council Philippine Neurological Association, the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation-Philippines, the National Center for Mental Health, the Philippine Hospital Association and the Department of Health Offices all comprise the IRR Technical Working group.

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