Press Release
February 12, 2018

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros' Manifestation on the Senate Ratification of the Disagreeing Provisions of the Mental Health Act of 2018

Mr. President,

For so many years, mental health, a relevant public health issue that affects every one of us, has been cast in the shadows, and spoken only in whispers. Today, as we ratify the Mental Health Act, we are making a historic step towards realizing our dream of a more a progressive system for mental health, not only for those suffering from mental health problems, but also for all Filipinos.

Through this Act, we will reinforce mechanisms to ensure that the rights of individuals with mental health conditions are protected. We will also have a more robust health-service delivery system that integrates mental health services at the community level and enhances the capacity of our government hospitals in providing high-level care. This Act will likewise mainstream mental health promotion and education to reduce stigma and discrimination by integrating mental health in the school curriculum and institutionalizing mental health programs in different settings.

It gives me immense pride to have been part of the Congress which passed this landmark legislation, and to be one of its principal sponsors. I would like to recognize the collective effort done of by our colleagues both in the Senate and the House that enabled the prompt passage of this law that would truly make significant impact in the lives of Filipinos. Sen JV, our Chairman in the Health Committee, Sen Sotto, the Majority Floor Leader, and all our co-authors.

I also want to acknowledge all our fellow mental health advocates and stakeholders who took part in the deliberations and supported this bill:

  •  the youth,

  • the health professionals,

  • the teacher, guidance counsellors,

  •  government agencies,

  •  non-government organizationss

  •  most importantly, the people who have experienced mental health conditions and their loved ones.

I offer my heartfelt gratitude and at the same time give you a gentle reminder that our work is not yet complete. We need to continue working together to ensure that the promise of the mental health law is fully realized.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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