According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 5 people suffer from any form of mental health problem.
Meanwhile, according to the data from the Department of Health (DOH), there is an estimated 2 to 3 million Filipinos who suffer from serious mental illness in the Philippines.
Statistics in the country also show that 1 in every 100 families, or 0.7% thereof, has a member who suffers from any form of mental disability.
Added to these statistics is the fact that most of the health insurance companies operating in the country still don’t provide insurance coverage for mental-health related risks and issues.
These statistics are only of the recorded cases of people with mental illnesses, and do not cover those unreported ones. An unknown greater number of people who suffer mental illnesses remain unreported and untreated because of the shame that is associated with such health problem.
In the Philippines, there is a strong societal stigma that is associated with people who have mental health problems. There is still a huge number of the Filipino population who are still unaware that mental health problems are actually real.
People with depression are usually either labeled as lazy for being lethargic and unmotivated most of the time, or being tagged as too negative, or too sad. More often than not, their friends and family members simply tell them to ‘snap out of it’, as if it’s nothing but a phase.
DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial shared that she has already signed an Administrative Order, which covers the implementation of a nation-wide mental health program. She also shared that the mental health program has comprehensive system starting from the barangay level.
The program aims to have a community-centered health care for people suffering from mental health problems, and is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority of mental health, alongside the prevalent drug problem in the country.
The health secretary also disclosed that PHP220 million of the DOH’s 2017 budget allocation would be dedicated to the mental health program, which is several folds bigger than the PHP36 million budget for 2016.