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Timely for Mental Health Awareness month: The Senate passed on the third and final reading of the mental health bill proposed by Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday, May 2.

Senate Bill No. 1354 or otherwise known as the Philippine Mental Health Law seeks to integrate mental health services and programs in the public health system. It was approved with 19 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.

The bill 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.”

Sen. Risa said in a press release: “This is an historic day for all of us. After being one of the few countries left without a mental health policy, we are now one step closer to realizing a national mental health law to comprehensively address the Filipinos’ mental health needs and ensure that our rights as persons with mental health needs are protected and secured.”

The Department of Health (DOH) has reported that 1 out of 5 Filipino adults have some form of mental illness, with schizophrenia, depression and anxiety topping the incidents of disorder.

The bill was co-authored by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Loren Legarda, Antonio Trillanes IV, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Juan Edgardo Angara, and Joel Villanueva.

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