Refocus mental health services in the PH
I concur with the view of Anna Cristina Tuazon in her column (“Time to integrate mental health,” Safe Space, 10/27/22). Indeed, the current mental health system is mostly centered on psychiatrists but not on psychologists, therapists, nurses, psychometricians, counselors, and, most especially, service users. After all, mental health is not about treating mental disorders but also keeping oneself mentally healthy, whether or not one has a mental disorder as argued by the likes of Martin Seligman. Which is the reason why opponents of the Mental Health Act such as Janice Cambri argued that the law is psychiatric-centric, not patient-centric.
To add, I think that mental health should not be centralized on Western methods like pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and counseling. The main call is not only to refocus mental health services but also to make them accessible, or at the very least, affordable for every Filipino. Even if we legalize alternative approaches to Western mental health services, for as long as it still prioritizes monetization, we would not have genuine mental health care.
Ronald G. de Guzman Jr., University of the Philippines Baguio
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