Senator Christopher Go reiterates the need to consistently strengthen mental health programs to promote overall health and well-being of the Filipinos
Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, noted that mental health has been a pressing issue in recent years, especially during the pandemic.
He said the people have faced unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
The senator also said the government has allocated significant funds for mental health services and awareness-raising initiatives.
“The DOH has P1.86 billion for mental health medicines. Under the 2023 national budget, there is P12 million budget for mental health awareness and hotline,” Go said.
The senator added that he has consistently advocated increased funding for mental health programs.
In 2021, the DOH was granted an additional P384 million for its mental health program, while in 2022, an additional P200 million was allocated for the same purpose.
One of the key initiatives that the government is pursuing to improve mental health services, according to Go, is the improvement of benefit packages of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, the national health insurance program.
The 2023 budget included a special provision for this purpose, with a focus on mental health packages.
This provision is crucial given the sharp increase in mental health issues during the pandemic, as highlighted by Go who also expressed concern regarding the high number of suicide cases among students.
Go noted that there has also been a rise in violent incidents, and mental health problems have emerged among schoolchildren.
“Alam n’yo, sa panahon ng pandemya, marami ang naka-experience ng depression. So, kailangan tutukan ang mental health,” Go stressed.
To address these challenges, Go said the government was working to strengthen mental health services across the country. These initiatives, according to Go, are critical in ensuring that people with mental health issues receive the support they need to recover and lead fulfilling lives.
Go remains firm in advocating for greater government interventions that would effectively address mental health issues.
Earlier, the lawmaker filed Senate Bill No. 1786 which mandates public higher education institutions to establish Mental Health Offices, including the hiring, deployment, and training of additional HEI-based mental health service personnel.