Mental health has only recently become a recognized issue in the Philippines in comparison to other progressive nations, particularly in the Western world. Nevertheless, mental health issues have long been a problem in the country though only in the minority of our people.
ALSO READ: Duterte Signs Universal Healthcare Act into Law
But in the last decade, more studies have been published, which validates the fact that indeed, more Filipinos have been confronting mental health issues in the dark, and not as openly as they should have been because of the stigma that surrounds the idea to being limited to terms as “crazy” or “schizophrenic.” However, with the law passed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addressing this long-shelved issue, help and solution is offered more openly nowadays.
DOH Launches Hotline for Those Experiencing Mental Health Crisis
On Thursday (May 2), the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) has launched a 24/7 hotline for Filipinos needing mental health crisis intervention and counseling services, as shared in a report by the Philippine News Agency.
According to NCMH Medical Center chief, Allan Troy Baquir, the hotline aims to reach out to those who do not have the immediate means to seek advice and serves as an avenue to offer hope and care for those who have mental health issues.
Hotline counsellors are trained and equipped to attend to psychiatric emergencies, suicidal thoughts, depression, grief and loss, relationship issues, sexual abuse, domestic violence, gender identity and sexual orientation issues, school and career issues, shared Baquir.
Furthermore, counsellors can refer the callers to other agencies that can provide specific mental health services in various parts of the country, but those who are assessed with high risk will be immediately provided with intervention.
The NCMH Crisis Hotline numbers, 0917-899-USAP and 989-USAP, are some of the strategies employed by the Department of Health in preventing suicide and addressing mental health challenges, in collaboration with non-government agencies and stakeholders for stronger mental health among Filipinos.
For his part, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, “There is hope. Recovery is possible. There should be no shame in seeking help.”
He also added that the hotline also aims to send a clear message to those struggling with mental issues in the dark that “they are not alone and it is okay to not be okay.”
As more and more people who have long battled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and emotional crises are coming forward, more people are also now readily extending help and support to let those struggling with mental health issues know that they are not alone and that recovery is possible.
ALSO READ: PRRD Signs HIV-AIDS Law