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DOH, WHO unveil bold initiative to tackle mental health crisis in PH

(Photos courtesy: Department of Health)

QUEZON CITY (PIA) -- In a bid to strengthen mental health interventions in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) joined forces with the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday, Oct. 12, to launch the 2024-2028 Philippine Council for Mental Health (PCMH) Strategic Framework.

This groundbreaking initiative aims to guide the development and implementation of comprehensive mental health policies, programs, and services, with the ultimate goal of alleviating the heavy burden of mental illness and enhancing the mental health and well-being of Filipinos nationwide.

The launch of the PCMH Strategic Framework is supported by the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health, which seeks to champion the fundamental right of every Filipino to access quality mental health care.

This initiative takes a complex approach, encompassing the implementation of vital mental health policies, strengthening patient navigation and referral pathways, establishing the Mental Health Internal Review Board, and providing training to media groups on ethical and responsible reporting and portrayal of suicide.

One of the major highlights of the event was the expansion of the PhilHealth Mental Health Benefit Package. This package extends crucial mental health benefits for outpatient services, which are now more accessible than ever. The primary care package includes a generous allocation of 12 consultations, diagnostic follow-up, psychoeducation, and psychosocial support. These services will be offered through mental health outpatient facilities and medicine access sites, making it easier for individuals to seek the help they need.

The event was participated by key stakeholders and officials, including PCMH Council Members from various government agencies, such as the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). This collaboration among government agencies reflects the widespread recognition of the urgent need to address mental health challenges in the country.

During his address at the event, Health Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa expressed his optimism and encourage every stakeholder about the PCMH Strategic Framework, stating, “I call for all stakeholders and partners to stand with us in our fight against issues that underlie mental health concerns such as job insecurity, poverty, substance abuse problems, abusive environments, and many more.”

The 2024-2028 Philippine Council for Mental Health Strategic Framework can address more mental health concerns in the country. With the contributions of all partner agencies under the PCMH and the guidance of WHO, the country can achieve all the strategies that were set and laid out in the new five-year strategic framework. It is a significant step forward in the battle to improve mental health across the nation, and its collaborative approach.

As this initiative unfolds over the coming years, it is hoped that mental health services and support will become more accessible, paving the way for a brighter future for individuals grappling with mental health issues in the country. (DOH/PIA-NCR)

About the Author

Alice Sicat

Information Officer IV


Assistant Regional Director of PIA-NCR

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