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Walang dapat ikahiya: Angara hopes Mental Health Law will encourage Filipinos to seek help

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Senator Sonny Angara is hopeful that the newly-signed Mental Health Law will help Filipinos overcome the “stigma” of mental illness, and enable them to seek professional help.

He lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law on Thursday the Mental Health Act which aims to provide basic mental health services “down to the barangay level.”

The law mandated the Department of Health (DoH) to provide psychiatric services to all regional, provincial, and tertiary hospitals, while increasing the capacities of mental health professionals.

“This law gives people with mental health problems and their families the opportunity to hope for better lives,” Angara said.

“While such enactment is a huge step in making mental health care more affordable, accessible and equitable, we renew our call to PhilHealth to cover fees for psychiatric consultations and medicines, as early intervention and prevention is crucial in treating mental illness,” he said.

Under the Mental Health Act, PhilHealth must “ensure that insurance packages equivalent to those covering physical disorders of comparable impact are available to patients affected by mental disorders.”

Currently, PhilHealth only covers hospitalization brought about by acute attacks of mental and behavioral disorders at a package rate of P7,800.

“We hope that in the drafting of the IRR (implementing rules and regulations), free psychiatric consultations and medicines shall be made available for all Filipinos,” Angara said.

“With the Mental Health Law, we can now paint a clearer picture of a Philippines where every citizen is able to maintain a stable emotional balance to handle daily tasks,” he added.