WHO congratulates the Philippines on its new Mental Health Act

22 June 2018

A mental health patient talks with a community doctor in Iloilo.
WHO/F. Tanggol

The World Health Organization (WHO) congratulates the Philippines for the passage of its first Mental Health Act (Republic Act No. 11036).

Untreated mental disorders exact a high toll, accounting for 14% of the total global burden of disease. Guaranteeing access to comprehensive and integrated mental health services through this Act will greatly improve the country’s efforts to achieve universal health coverage, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.

Central to the Philippine Mental Health Act is the protection and the promotion of the rights of persons with psychiatric, neurologic and psychosocial health needs as well as their families. The rights, roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals are also clearly described.

The WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 draws on the principle of universal health coverage. Regardless of age, sex, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and following the principle of equity, persons with mental disorders should be able to access essential health and social services without the risk of impoverishing themselves. This will enable them to achieve recovery and the highest attainable standard of health. The Philippine Mental Health Act is fully aligned with this principle.

The integration of mental health care as part of basic health services underscores that there is no health without mental health. WHO commends the Filipino people on this landmark achievement.