Tag Archives: Makati Medical Center

Mental health in the Philippines

After more or less 28 years, the law that could provide affordable mental health services for Filipinos has been signed.

Referred to as the Mental Health Law, the Republic Act 11036 would secure the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs, provide services for them even in barangays, improve mental healthcare facilities, and promote mental health education in schools and workplaces.

It also aims to (1) provide psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial services to the regional and other tertiary level hospitals, (2) add mental health service providers, and (3) introduce anti-stigma or anti-discrimination programs in schools and workplaces. Mental healthcare would not just be concentrated in urban areas anymore and would highlight the importance of research required to formulate and develop culturally-relevant national mental health programs.

The Mental Health Law has been signed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Loren Legarda, Antonio Trillanes IV, Paolo Bengino Aquino IV, Juan Edgardo Angara, and Joel Villanueva.

A Human Right

Before the Mental Health Law was legislated, there have been at least 16 other bills focusing on mental health.

Former senator Orlando Mercado was the first one to file an act about it in 1989. The next year, another version was filed by Senator Jose Lina. Then in 2000, Executive Order 470 was issued, creating a council for mental health attached to the Department of Health (DOH).

The Philippine Mental Health Policy came into being in 2001, signed by former health secretary Manuel M. Dayrit. But it was revised four years after over 4.5 million cases of depression had been reported.

The figures went down as a result but the cases of anxiety and alcoholism have gone up in the succeeding years. Suicide, too, which was “seriously contemplated” by Filipino students as young as 13 years old. By 2012, 2,558 Filipinos died by suicide (World Health Organization) and 1 in 5 Filipino adults has some form of mental illness (Department of Health).

The destruction wrought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) across the central Philippines—particularly in Marabut, Samar, Carles, and Estancia—led the government to scale up its community mental health programs and train city and municipal health officers in identifying mental health problems. It spearheaded the first public health convention on PWDs in order to improve their access to health and wellness services.

Then it signed an administrative order in 2016 for the nationwide implementation of its mental health program. It also created a national hotline for mental health assistance in 2017. That same year, the Senate passed the Senate Bill 1354 or the Mental Health Act of 2017 that enable affordable and accessible mental health services to Filipinos.

Globally, more than 300 million people are living with depression so, in the Philippines,  the DOH together with the WHO and the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation launched Hopeline, a 24-hour phone-based counseling service for individuals who suffer from that. Other organizations that are helping are the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, Incorporated, Silakbo PH, Isanliyab Servant Leaders’ Union, and Where There Is Hope (WTIH).

Mental health is important because all aspects of people’s lives is affected by it. Depression, suicidal ideation, and bipolar disorder are currently the most common mental health problems in the country, and one in every three Filipinos has a mental health problem1. There is only one psychiatrist for every 250,000 mentally ill patients, though, and the fund set aside for mental health is just five percent of the health department’s total annual budget2.

Furthermore, most of the mental health facilities and institutions are within the National Capital Region3. Most of the victims are overseas Filipino workers, residents of typhoon-prone areas, families that have abusive parents, and those that lived through disasters and violence.

With these in mind, The PWD Forum cannot but echo a Philippine senator’s hope for mental health in the country: that it will be eventually accepted as a genuine public concern that requires accessible medical care, consistent government support, and compassionate social understanding.

“Help is finally here. The Mental Health Law cements the government’s commitment to a more holistic approach to healthcare: without sound mental health there can be no genuine physical health.” ~ Sen. Risa Hontiveros

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the GMA News

1This estimate was from a population survey conducted by the UP-Philippine General Hospital in Western Visayas more than 20 years ago. It was shared by Dr. Lourdes Ignacio, professor emeritus at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, during her lecture on “Reaching the unreached: Integrating mental health care in general health care” before national academicians and national scientists of the National Academy of Science and Technology.

2From the allotment, 95% goes to the maintenance of mental health institutions and personnel’s salary.

3They are the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong, Cavite Center for Mental Health in Trece Martires, Mariveles Mental Ward in Bataan, and psychiatric wards in the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, University of Santo Tomas Hospital, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, and Metro Psychotherapy Facility.

Notes:

  1. Depression is a common and serious medical illness that can cause feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to suicidal ideation, which means thinking about or planning suicide.

Bipolar disorder, on the other hand, is an illness that causes unusual shifts in mood. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by failure to understand reality. Anxiety causes nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. All of them—depression, suicidal ideation, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety—can be treated through medication, counselling, and social rehabilitation.

  1. In rural areas: mental disorders are a result of other-worldly spirits or witchcraft.
  2. The state-run insurance firm, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) recently added mental illness under its coverage but for severe disorders and short- duration of confinement only.

PCSO cuts medical assistance budget

From a more or less P20 million daily budget, beneficiaries of the medical assistance program of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) would have to make do with P4.1 million only from now on.

The PCSO’s charter mandates it to allot 55 percent of its revenues for prizes, 15 percent for operational expenses, and 30 percent for its “charity fund.”

During the first quarter of the year, it has earned a total revenue of P15.98 billion from Lotto, Keno, Sweepstakes, and Small Town Lottery (STL)—an increase of 28.24% from the agency’s revenue during the same quarter in 2017—and has helped some 120,356 patients nationwide.

In May especially, 37,186 patients have benefited from the PCSO’s Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP). About 13,376 of these sought hospital confinement; 12,132 requested medicines; and 4,305 had chemotherapy.

But the PCSO had an “overutilization of medical assistance funds,” PCSO deputy spokesperson Florante Solmerin has been quoted saying in a report. It has already exceeded the IMAP budget by P500 million for the first semester of 2018 compared to its 2017 data of the same period. The PCSO would have to change the manner on how it provides medical assistance,” PCSO charity assistance department (CAD) head Dr. Larry Cedro has concluded in the same report “as this may result in problems with the Commission on Audit (COA).”

More or less 40 percent of these funds “have been gobbled up by “mandatory contributions,” too. Ten percent of this has to go to the “Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter and Urban Development Financing Program” by virtue of the Republic Act No. 7835 or the National Shelter Program. Executive Order No. 357 also mandates the PCSO to allocate 5 percent of the charity fund for local government units.

Other “mandatory contributions” would go to the Philippine Sports Commission Program, Commission on Higher Education, Documentary Stamp Tax, Shared Government Information System on Migration (SGISM) under the Department of Foreign Affairs, Crop Insurance Program, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for the Ancestral Domain Fund, Museum Endowment Fund, and Dangerous Drugs Board.

“We need to do this or else we will go back to the issue of ‘overutilization.’ As a general rule, you only operate within your budget. Simply put, we can only give what we have,” Dr. Larry Cedro

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Puso ng Pamilya

Notes:

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is a government-owned and controlled corporation under the direct supervision of the Office of the President of the Philippines.

In Metro Manila, its government-run partner-hospitals include Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Justice Jose Abad Santos Hospital, Las Pinas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center, National Children’s Hospital, Ospital ng Muntinlupa, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital and Tondo Medical Center.

In the country’s provinces, meanwhile, the government-run partner-hospitals are Batangas Medical Center, Bulacan Medical Center, Davao Regional and Medical Center, Mandaue City Hospital and Southern Philippines Medical Center, while partner-private hospitals are Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries Inc., Castro Maternity Hospital and Medical Center and Dela Salle University Center.

There are private partner-hospitals that could accept PCSO aid. These are the Asian Hospital and Medical Foundation Inc., Capitol Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Delos Santos Medical Center, FEU-Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation Medical Center, Hospital of the Infant Jesus, J.P. Sioson General Hospital and Colleges Inc., Makati Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospitals, Manila Med (Medical Center Manila), Mary Johnston Hospital, MCU-FDMTF Inc., Metropolitan Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, St. Jude General Hospital and Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, St. Martin de Porres Charity Hospital, UE-Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center and Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center.

Sinagtala Home

In 1966, a “star of hope” was formed.

It was called “Sinagtala,” the first institution under the Philippine Cheshire Homes Sinag-Tala Association Inc. It was founded by Concepcion Magsaysay-Labrador, the sister of former President Ramon Magsaysay.

Sinagtala Home first opened its doors to 11 “severely disabled” men. Two years after, it started to house female paraplegics that the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) has already discharged. There are currently 21 male PWDs and 11 female PWDs in Sinagtala.

But even though physically disabled, the residents were taught to fend for themselves. They can do mouth painting, charcoal portraiture, design and manufacture of religious items, solihiya (seat cushion) repair, watch repair, and mobile phone repair.

Last March 23, 2010, Sinagtala Home collaborated with the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine to organize the “Phi Sets Sinag-tala in Motion: Adding Color To Their Lives…One Step At A Time.” There had been a medical mission at the 123 Sinag-Tala Road, Barangay Bahay Toro, Project 8, Quezon City; a physical assessment by Dr. Melissa Zamuco-Mercado, head of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Makati Medical Center (MMC) and Dr. Estrella Sebe Sanchez-Fernandez, specialist in obstetrics and gynecology; a demonstration of some therapeutic exercises; and a wall-painting activity.

The said event was sponsored by the Sangguniang Kabataan of Magallanes and the Universal Robina Corporation. Sinagtala Home, however, is financially supported by a group of charitable Filipinos and through the earnings of the residents themselves.

“But the vision of the organization doesn’t just stop there – more than giving them a place of stay, the residents are encouraged to live productive lives through pursuing their own livelihood” ~ Phi Lambda Delta

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of winkedee