A survey from the Department of Health showed that around 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from mental disorders amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
DOH National Mental Health Program head Frances Prescila Cuevas said at least 3.6 million Filipinos are suffering from any form of mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.
However, Cuevas said that the number could be higher as the survey only covered the three mental disorders.
“This could be more because these are only selected conditions that we are looking at. We hope to be able to have a full spectrum of the results next year,” Cuevas said.
The DOH official added that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had affected Filipinos’ mental health, citing an “alarming spike of calls” on the National Center for Mental Health’s (NCMH) hotline.
In August, NCMH has been receiving an average of 53 suicide-calls every day.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the highest number of suicide-related calls to NCMH was recorded in July 2020 with 115 calls.
Meanwhile, records also showed the number of anxiety-related concerns reached 109 in August.
In total, the NCMH crisis hotlines received a high volume of calls from April to July, but the peak was in June with 1,115 calls.
The report said 9,494 Filipinos had been provided with mental health services as of August 15.
DOH: Around 3.6 million Pinoys suffering from mental disorders
Individuals who need mental health support and assistance can call the NCMH crisis numbers 0917-8998727 and 989-8727.
Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez earlier urged the government to hire more psychiatrists, guidance counselors, psychologists, and mental health professionals to help Filipinos cope with the mental disorders brought by the COVID-19 crisis.
Rodriguez warned there could be a surge of mental health problems among Filipinos due to the pandemic.
He said that the fear alone of acquiring the diseased “is driving many Filipinos nuts.”
“This prolonged pandemic is adversing affecting the mental health of tens of thousands if not millions among us,” Rodriguez said.
The recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey earlier reported that 86 percent of Filipinos have been stressed over the COVID-19 pandemic.