MANILA, Philippines – As the pandemic and other mental health problems continue to affect one’s mental health, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go called on the government to focus on programs, particularly in the form of psychological assistance and support for Filipinos.
He also emphasized the need for ordinary citizens to prioritize their mental health and for society, as a whole, saying these issues are not trivial.
“Many were depressed, many were really hit during the pandemic. We cannot deny that, especially during the quarantine period, it was difficult for them to adjust,” said Go after inspecting the Super Health Center being built in Arakan, North Cotabato.
Go said many Filipinos have suffered the loss of not only their livelihood but also the lives of loved ones, thus emphasizing the need for mental health issues to be addressed.
“Many have lost their jobs, many have lost loved ones. That’s what hurts the most, losing a loved one. That’s why mental health programs are important,” he said.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Go supported mental health programs and pointed out that dedicated funds for them should also be prioritized in the 2023 national health budget.
“We had a budget allocation of P568 million in 2022 and it will be increased to P1 billion in 2023 in the NEP, so as the committee chair on health, I support these mental health programs of our government,” said Go.
“It is really important especially since we are affected by this pandemic, we think that Filipinos are really struggling,” said the senator.
To give Filipinos better access to mental health interventions and care, Go pointed out that former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Act.
Specifically, it aims to provide mental health services at the barangay level, and integrate mental health and wellness programs at the grassroots level so that the interventions are felt by the communities. It also aims to improve mental health facilities and promote mental health education in schools and workplaces.
“Last October 3, during a hearing in the Senate, I encouraged to have enough funds for our mental health programs. The mental health programs of our government are important,” he stressed.
“I encourage PhilHealth to develop as soon as possible a more comprehensive mental health package that also includes consultation and other outpatient services,” the lawmaker said. RNA
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