House approves bill on final reading to create first mental health clinic in PH


Representative Florida Robes, shown here in a photo taken in December 2019, is the author of a bill to establish the San Jose Del Monte Mental Wellness Center. (File photo from his office)

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill on third and final reading to establish the country’s first mental health clinic.

House Bill 9980, which will now go to the Senate, was approved by 196 affirmative votes, with no one voting against and no one abstaining.

The clinic will be established in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan. It will be funded and managed by the city government in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The representative for San Jose Del Monte, Florida Robes, who drafted the bill, said the approval was “very timely” given the “many mental health issues and issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” .

According to her, the mental health clinic will be the first of its kind in the Philippines.

Citing data from the DOH’s national health program, Robes said at least 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from mental disorders.

READ: About 3.6 million Filipinos with mental health problems – DOH

“Mental health has been largely ignored and a lower priority by the government as our country has been rated as one of the poorest in terms of mental health resources,” Robes said in a statement.

“The mental health issue has been even more pronounced as we encounter the many detrimental effects of Covid-19 with the blocks and social distancing that have kept us from being with our friends and engaging in personal interactions and links with other people. She added.

The clinic – which will be called the San Jose Del Monte Mental Wellness Center – will provide services including counseling and therapy, crisis counseling and intervention, medication, assessment and management, group therapy, mindfulness meditation, after-hours care and other psychiatric services. .

The center will also offer psychotherapy services to patients suffering from difficult emotions, anxiety and stress, childhood trauma, intercultural issues, life transitions, depression, parenting issues, post-traumatic stress disorder. , domestic violence and family and interpersonal conflicts.

The development plan for the center will be prepared by the government of San José Del Monte in accordance with the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan and in consultation with the Department of Health.

READ: The other wave: hotlines for mental health intensify

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