The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill establishing a mental health clinic in San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan, the first of its kind in the country.
Voting 196 in the affirmative with zero negative and no abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill 9980, authored by Rep. Florida Robes of San Jose del Monte City, that establishes a mental health clinic in the city to be funded and managed by the local government in conjunction with the Department of Health.
Robes said the passage of the bill is very timely in the middle of the many mental health problems and issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Health Organization has noted increased levels of negative impact of the pandemic on the mental health of individuals all over the world.
In the Philippines, there is a growing number of Filipinos suffering from mental health issues, according to Frances Prescila Cuevas, head of the National Health Program of the Department of Health, with at least 3.6 million suffering from mental disorders.
“Mental health has been widely ignored and less prioritized by the government as our country has been considered one of the poorest in terms of mental health resources. The problem of mental health has even been more pronounced as we encounter the many ill-effects of COVID-19 with the lockdowns and social distancing which have prevented us from being with our friends and engaging in personal interactions and connection with other people,” Robes said.
She said her bill will establish the San Jose Del Monte Mental Wellness Center which will provide services that include counseling and therapy, crisis counseling and intervention, medication,
evaluation and management, group therapy, mindfulness meditation, after-hours care and other psychiatric services.
It will also provide psychotherapy services to patients on a multiple of issues including the management of difficult emotions, anxiety and stress, childhood trauma, cross cultural issues, life transitions, depression, parenting issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, domestic abuse and family and interpersonal conflicts.