Mental Health Act signed for implementation

Published January 22, 2019, 5:23 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Analou De Vera

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11036, also known as the Mental Health Act, was signed Tuesday at the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City.

“The DOH fully supports the implementation of this IRR to attain the vision of the National Mental Health Act of a responsive and compassionate health system,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN)

“This is a great step towards tackling the growing issue of mental health illness in the Philippines,” he added.

The IRR was a result of several public consultations and discussions with different government agencies which include the departments of Education, Labor, Interior, Social Welfare and Development, Commission on Higher Education, Commission on Human Rights, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Congress and medical associations.

Duque said that the law’s IRR is consistent with the Universal Health Care agenda.

“The work does not end with a good policy framework. The bigger challenge lies in implementing a policy that gives real value to the people and it all starts with a commitment to collective action,” said Duque.

“It is high time that we talk about mental health as a serious issue. It is time that we bring mental illness out of its shadows and into light. It is time that we put an end to the stigma surrounding mental illness,” he added.

The mental health law highlights the balanced delivery of mental health services (community-based and hospital-based) with more focus on persons with psychiatric, neurologic, and psychosocial health needs, and overcoming society’s attitudinal challenges that they may live free from stigma and discrimination.