WHAT might become a serious problem to the government if the same is not taken care of is the implication of a result of a survey on mental health taken at the instance of the Department of Health.

The survey results reveal that at least 30 percent of civil servants suffer from a mental health problem,.

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The survey done on civil servants based in the National Capital Region used the diagnostic tool, Composite International Diagnostic Interview.

This was recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association so policy makers could get a picture of the mental health of Filipino government workers.

The result indicated that the most common mental disorder were depression and anxiety, which require professional help.

Depression, according to a member of the Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA), is an illness triggered even without any loss or separation but by chemical imbalance

in the brain.

Thus it needs treatment because of the danger of suicide.

Mental health bill

Efforts are now being made to conduct a nationwide survey to get a bigger picture of the Filipinos’ mental health.

A forum organized early this week by the Philippine College of Physicians noted that most people look normal, but they are actually harboring mental health problems that can be picked up by a diagnostic tool.

Consequently, the PPA is lobbying in Congress for the passage of a mental health bill to strengthen and institutionalize services for mental healthcare in the Philippines.

The findings of the survey is said to have jibed with those conducted by a mental health care practitioner in 2004 in communities of Western Visayas (Region VI) with a reported 3,000 respondents.

Results showed that 14.3 percent, or nearly two out of ten persons, suffered from a range of anxiety disorders, including panic, phobia, and general depression.

Those afflicted did not have adequate formal education and experienced difficult family circumstances.

Diagnosis

A PPA member and practitioner said that the more stressors there are, the more resources would be needed to deal with the problem.

Indeed, diagnosing a mental disorder is of “life-saving” importance.

Some said that the prevalent cause of mental disorders among government workers is pressure from the economic condition prevailing in the country and the stress that emanates from the need to cope with the situation.

But whatever is the true cause, the facts remains that mental disorders are becoming prevalent among government workers, and there is genuine need for mental health care.