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 House on Monday, approved House Bill (HB) 9980, authored
by San Jose Del Monte Rep. Florida “Rida” P. Robes, that establishes a mental health clinic in the city to be funded and managed by the city government in conjunction with the Department of Health (DoH).
Robes said the passing of her bill is very timely in the midst of the many mental health problems and issues brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has noted increased levels of negative impact of the pandemic in the mental health of individuals all over the world.
In the Philippines, there is a growing number of Filipinos suffering from mental health issues with Frances Prescila Cuevas, head of the National Health Program of the DoH, saying at least 3.6 million suffer 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.
The city government of SJDM will prepare a development plan aligned with the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan in consultation with the DoH.
Robes has been advocating mental health issues as she had earlier pushed for the creation of mental health desks in local government units to address the worsening mental health issues brought about by the pandemic.
She is also the county’s ambassador of Korean non-government organization Sunfull Foundation Internet Peace Movement on its fight against cyber-bullying.