Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the celebration of National Mental Health Week 2021

Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the celebration of National Mental Health Week 2021

The Commission on Human Rights joins all Filipinos in celebrating National Mental Health Week! This year’s campaign slogan for the international World Mental Health Day, “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality” highlights the need for increased accessibility of mental health services for every individual as the world battles the COVID pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s health. Apart from the slowdown in global economic output, various national industries have been hit hard by the pandemic leading to massive layoffs. To compound problems of increased unemployment, rising COVID cases continue to threaten every individual’s lives and livelihood.

Since the start of the pandemic, we, every one of us, has lost someone or has known someone
who wouldn’t have died otherwise prior to the emergence of this disease. It is discomforting to know how our lives have been disrupted and the burden it has caused on everyone’s shoulders. Equally concerning are the reports from the National Center of Mental Health on the increasing calls from young adolescents to their crisis hotline.

It is incredibly hard to offer words of comfort when one is personally afflicted with challenges in unprecedented times like this. But in our own way, let us try to make a difference by taking care of ourselves and others. In times of a national crisis, there is an increased need for patience and understanding from each one of us to another.

Let us remain hopeful as well.

Currently, as more vaccine doses are administered, we’re seeing a gradual decrease in COVID reproduction rates in the National Capital Region. We remain hopeful that COVID cases will soon continue to decrease.

We remain equally hopeful and supportive on the passage of House Bill No. 9980 following its approval in the lower house on Tuesday, 28 September. House Bill No. 9980 seeks to establish the country’s first mental health clinic. This is a positive and welcome news in line with this year’s Mental Health Day slogan of accessible mental health care for all.

As we weather this pandemic, we have one simple request to the public in these times—remember to be kind, be a good human.

If you or anyone you know needs help, the Department of Health, through the National Center for Mental Health, has a national crisis hotline to assist people with mental health concerns. The hotline can be reached through the following numbers:

Globe and TM: 0917-899-8727 and 0966-351-4518
Smart and Sun: 0908-639-2672
Toll-free Luzon-wide hotline: 1553