DOH Commits to Supporting Mental Health Facilities and Strengthening Community Programs

The Department of Health (DOH) pledged on Wednesday to support mental health facilities across the country and strengthen community mental health programs.

DOH Officer in Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire met with officials from the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in the city of Mandaluyong to discuss ways to increase access to mental health services and improve their delivery .

During the meeting, Vergeire stressed the importance of improving mental health research and allocating the budget to train mental health professionals.

“Stigma and discrimination continue to prevent us from maximizing our mental health services and programs. Recognizing these challenges, we have taken a non-specialist approach to bringing mental health services closer to communities, ensuring that mental health care is available at all stages of life. in various settings and levels of care,” said Vergeire.

“Additionally, we need support from other sectors to eliminate the stigma around mental health and help make Filipinos healthy, both physically and mentally,” she added.

Vergeire also toured the various facilities at NCMH and witnessed patient routines and activities, which are critical things to consider when reintegrating into the general community.

The DOH said earlier that the number of calls to the NCMH crisis hotline increased in the first quarter of 2021.

Citing data from NCMH, Vergeire said a total of 3,006 calls were made to the hotlines 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP) from January 1 to March 15, 2021. Of these, 867 were related to suicide.

The most common reasons for calling the NCMH hotline were anxiety and depression, stressful life events, interpersonal issues, mood issues, and referral services. — Richa Noriega/BM, GMA Integrated News

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