The Philippines Government Isn’t Taking Mental Health Seriously. Here’s What You Can Do

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mental health
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

It’s not just in the United States that people are struggling with their mental health. The situation seems to be declining throughout the world, with different regions discovering that their populations are struggling more and more with mental health problems.

One of the regions that are struggling tremendously with mental health right now is the Philippines. In this article, we’re going to discuss why the state of mental health in this region is so poor, and offer some tips to help people living in the Philippines learn what to do to help improve the situation.

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Why Is Mental Health Struggling in the Philippines?

The Philippines is known for having a fairly high rate of mental health problems. The country is relatively densely populated for its small land mass, with 104.9 million people living in the Philippines as of 2017.

As of 2012, more than 3.3% of people living in the Philippines – more than 3 million – were suffering from depression. Doctors said that the worst issue that could arise from depression is suicide. According to doctors in the region, more than 800,000 people commit suicide annually as a result of depression. 

The Philippines is divided into different regions, with much of the available data coming from region 1. Population in region 1 was just over 5 million. Statistics from the DOH show that, in 2018, there were 108 suicides in region 1 alone.

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One of the reasons that suicide and depression rates are so high is because of the lack of available support in the Philippines. 

Dr. Herminigilda Salangad, who is the Judicial Officer IV of the DOH in region 1 of the Philippines, says that the DOH has been attempting to create more availability to health officers in rural areas. This is intended to help reduce some of the issues associated with the lack of available psychiatrists and psychologists in the Philippines. 

While mental health has simply not been an area of focus in years past, there is evidence that things may soon improve. The high numbers of depressed, anxious, and other mentally unwell people in the Philippines has brought global awareness to the intensity of the mental health problem in the region.

Because of this, Dr. Salangad and other workers at the DOA have begun helping to educate medical professionals on how to deal with mental health issues. Students in their final years of high school are also beginning to receive education on the nature of depression and suicide. 

The DOH even plans to conduct workshops and mental health fairs to acknowledge Mental Health Week in October.

What Can We Do to Improve the Situation?

There are many ways that people can help to improve the situation in the Philippines and throughout the world. Here are some of the most common and effective ways to bring light onto the mental health situation.

  • Self-educate. The Philippines is certainly beginning to make an effort to teach the population about mental health, but they are by no means in the limelight yet. This means that locals have a responsibility to self-educate themselves about mental health problems like depression and anxiety. This can be done on mental health sites with a wealth of information.
  • Be open-minded and honest. Allow people to express their mental health concerns to you without being judgmental, and don’t be afraid to let others know that you might be struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other issues. Being open brings awareness to the issue, which can help improve the situation. 
  • Encourage seeking help. Whether you or someone you care about needs help, encourage looking for a psychiatrist or mental health professional. You can even go online to find help.

In Conclusion

Mental health is pretty bad in the Philippines, but there are ways that it can be improved. Bringing awareness of the problem will help encourage the nation to improve their mental health infrastructure.

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