‘Stigma and discrimination’ fears deter mentally-handicapped persons to seek professional help – CHR

Published April 15, 2021, 3:02 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Mental wellness is a basic human right.

But fears of stigma and discrimination are deterrents in seeking professional medical help by persons with mental health problems, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said.


To overcome these fears, the CHR said health professionals and the government should share knowledge and advocate for positive mental health outlook.

Trainings should be developed for key stakeholders, while lawmakers should prioritize developing mental health policies and laws.  

In a presentation done by the CHR’s Human Rights Education and Promotion Office and Human Rights Policy Advisory Office last April 13, it was highlighted that many people view mental issues as different from physical illness.

“Kaya naman, ang mga taong nakakaranas ng mga hamon o problema sa kalusugang pangkaisipan ay pinipili huwag magpakonsulta sa medical professionals dahil sa takot madiskrimina (As a result, people experiencing mental health challenges or problems choose not to consult medical professionals for fear of being discriminated against),” the CHR said.

The CHR pointed out that current mental health policies and laws are inadequate to fully protect those who suffer from mental health conditions.

Thus, it stressed, that policies and laws must be augmented and improved so that people with mental health issues would be provided with proper mechanisms and have access to much-needed facilities.

It lamented that oftentimes, cases of discrimination against people with mental health challenges go unreported. This is the reason why discussions on the promotion of mental well-being should continue, it said.

“Kasama din dito ang pagbuo ng mga ugnayan at pakikiisa sa mga organisasyon, internasyonal man o lokal, na may parehong layon na itaguyod ang kalusagang pangkaisipan na naaayon sa international human rights standards, (It also includes building relationships and partnerships with organizations, whether international or local, with the same goal of promoting mental health in line with international human rights standards),” the CHR said.