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House Okays Mental Health Bill on 2nd Reading

House Okays Mental Health Bill on 2nd Reading

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading a proposal seeking to establish a national mental health policy to enhance the delivery of mental health services in the country.

With overwhelming ayes, the House approved House Bill No. 6452 otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Mental Health Act of 2017”.

The bill seeks to integrate mental health care in the general health delivery system, especially the programs of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the mentally disabled persons.

Under the bill, every person shall have the right to the best available mental health care, which shall be part of the health and social care and protection system.

This means that every person suffering from a mental illness shall have the right to receive humane treatment and also the right against discrimination on the ground of mental illness.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman proposed amendments to the mental health bill including the investigative role of the Commission on Human Rights on human rights violations related to mental health and mental illness; and the creation of community-based mental health care facilities.

The study of mental health shall be introduced and integrated into both elementary and secondary educational systems to prevent depression, obesity and teenage pregnancy among students.

The bill mandates the DOH to develop a National Mental Health Care Services Delivery System, which shall constitute a quality mental health care program as well as a nationwide mental health information and education program.

The said program shall be done in close coordination with, and active involvement of, persons with disabilities and their respective organizations, and other users of mental health facilities and services, including their careers, and mental health professionals.

The bill also seeks the reconstitution and strengthening of the Philippine Mental Health Council as an attached agency under the DOH to provide for a coherent, rational and unified response to mental health problems, concerns and efforts.