A LAWMAKER has commended the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (PBBM) for setting aside P2.1 billion under the annual appropriations of the Department of Health (DOH) for mental health programs.
“The allocation is a huge markup from last year’s P568.04 million budget. With this amount for 2023, we can improve, create, and provide more services for Filipinos suffering from mental health issues,” Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Ray Florence Reyes said.
“Mental health in our country is stigmatized, made worse by a meager annual budget. Mental health is one of our country’s under-resourced sectors. The appropriation earmarked by the Department of Health worth 2.1 billion pesos for next year could possibly change this,” Reyes said.
A study conducted on the Philippines’ mental health situation by the National Center for Global Health and Medicine showed that government hospitals and state health insurers only cover in-patient services.
Reyes said this means that outpatient cases suffering from mental health illnesses still cover 100% of treatment costs from their own pockets.
“It is greatly hoped that this budget increase can lessen the financial burden on our countrymen. This is surely a positive step towards the drive to break the stigma associated with mental illness, as it creates opportunities for improvement in officially funded health-centric priorities,” Reyes stated.
DOH indicated that around 3.6 million Filipinos suffered mental disorders at the height of the pandemic.
It is also the third most common disability in the country.
Further, the country recorded the third highest mental disorders per capita rate in the Western Pacific region.