Solon urges full implementation of Mental Health law

MANILA Following the death of the drummer of a local rock band by apparent suicide, a lawmaker on Thursday urged the government to fully implement the Philippine Mental Health Law to prevent further "senseless deaths" from happening.

There must be aggressive information dissemination about, and determined implementation of the Philippine Mental Health Law in order to prevent senseless deaths, especially those by suicide," Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said in a statement.

Castelo issued the statement in the light of the death of Brian Velasco, drummer of the band Razorback, who supposedly even live-streamed his own death via social media.

Velasco's case has brought into the forefront anew the issues on mental health.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2,558 Filipinos died by committing suicide, or an average of seven cases per day, in 2012 alone.

The Department of Health, meanwhile, reported that one in five Filipino adults has some form of mental illness, topped by schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.

The Philippine Mental Health Law (Republic Act No. 11036), which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in June last year, has brought high hopes that mental health will be finally incorporated in the general health care system of the country.

The law would secure the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs and mental health professionals; provide mental health services down to the barangays; integrate psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurologic services in regional, provincial, and tertiary hospitals; improve mental health care facilities; and promote mental health education in schools and workplaces.

For Castelo, who co-authored the law, RA 11036 should have to be implemented fully if its objective to save precious lives is to be met.

"Laws cannot just be words written on paper. They must be implemented efficiently and effectively. Government must do more, not just to prevent deaths but more importantly, to help those with mental health problems live better lives," he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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