Doc Willie Ong seeks to improve mental health services

Aksyon Demokratiko Vice presidential aspirant Dr. Willie Ong plans to address the rise in mental health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Ngayong pandemic, talagang nakikita kong problema 'yung mental illness: depression, away sa pamilya,” Ong said.

Ong bared his strategies to include mental health under the coverage of PhilHealth, promote workplace-based mental health programs, and expand telehealth consultations for mental health issues.

He also wants to increase the funding for mental health professionals and services and ramp up mental health research and surveillance.

“Dito sa Pilipinas, kung may depression ka, wala kang mapupuntahan. Walang libre (Here in the Philippines, if you have depression, you can’t go anywhere. Nothing's free)," he said.

To ensure that mental health is given proper attention, Ong proposed for an increase in the budget of the National Center for Mental Health and the appointment of a mental health czar.

“Pwede mag-appoint ang Presidente ng Mental Health Czar para masabi na urgent na 'to (The President can choose to appoint a Mental Health Czar)," he said. (Terence L. Ranis)