Press Release
February 14, 2018


"Giving new meaning to 'life as an open book'."

This was how Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros described the "Human Library," a creative event held on Wednesday to create safe spaces and meaningful dialogue on issues regarding mental health.

Under the theme "Read my mind," the "Human Library" is a one-day installation aimed to provide the public with a deeper and anecdotal understanding of mental health.

The event, which coincided with Valentine's Day, featured 15 "human books," comprised of different personalities and celebrities, who shared stories about their mental health struggles and triumphs with students. Some of these were Hontiveros, broadcast journalist TJ Manotoc, 2016 Miss International Kylie Verzosa and Dr. Guia Sison.

Hontiveros, who is also the author and sponsor of the Mental Health Law passed in the Senate, led the opening of the event. She invited all those who are suffering from different forms of mental health problems, particularly those feeling depressed on Valentine's Day, to see the Human Library as a form of self-care.

"Each of us has a story to tell. We will not only share our experiences and stories about mental health and personal struggle. We will share a bit of ourselves with you. And though our stories are different, we share one common message with all of you who may be suffering from mental health problems: you are not alone," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said that it's time to eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness. "The issues surrounding mental health should not be discussed in hushed words. It should cease to be seen as an invisible sickness spoken in whispers. Through open and participatory dialogue, we hope to create safe and inclusive spaces to discuss mental health as a real and important public health issue. It's time that we break walls and barriers," she said.

The event was organized by the office of Hontiveros in partnership with Book Stop PH, Youth for Mental Health Coalition and Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila.

Hontiveros' Mental Health Law seeks to integrate mental health services and programs in the public health system. The measure also mandates the government to put up basic mental health services at the community level and psychiatric, psychosocial and neurologic services in all regional, provincial and tertiary hospitals.

News Latest News Feed