THE task force assigned to draft the implementing rules and regulation of the recently signed Republic Act 11036, otherwise known as the “Mental Health Act,” has sought for regional perspectives in order to be considered upon the creation of a multi-sectoral body to address mental health issues, as well as promote it.
Dr. Dinah Palmera Nadera, Mental Health Policy Consultant who led the focus-group discussion (FGD) and consultation the different stakeholders, has said that since the law is new, there will be numerous meetings and consultations to various government and non-government agencies and organizations, in order to polish its intended purpose for those who seek services related to mental health.
“Considerations such as for IPs (Indigenous Peoples), there might be a different take on this when mental health is introduced based on their culture,” she said. She also said that the participants who joined the discussion can become a regional group and will delegate a representative to collate all the suggestions and send it to the Task Force for consideration.
One of the FGD participants, Angie Abellanosa, was optimistic with the creation of the new law since discussions about mental health was not prevalent before, even among Person with Disabilities (PWDs).
“They thought that when you say 'PWDs,' it's only limited to physical handicaps, they did not usually include those with mental health challenges like children with autism,” she said.
The FGD was made possible through the initiative of World Health Organization and Department of Health partnership. After suggestions are being made from different regions, a public consultation will be rolled out beginning October 20.