In 2019, a total of 82,654 individuals availed of consultation with the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), an official of the government-run hospital said.
This translates to an average of 226 outpatient clients per day, according to Noel Reyes, NMHC chief medical and professional staff.
"Globally naman yan as in any other nation there is an increase in some of the psychiatric disorders, major depression, anxiety these are sign of the times," Reyes said.
According to a report by Ivan Mayrina on 24 Oras, there are current initiatives in Congress to build an eight-story general hospital inside the NCMH compound in Mandaluyong City to service the various illnesses of mental patients. But this has yet to be finalized.
NCMH officials noted that mental hospital patients suffer from stigma whenever they seek medical help from regular hospitals.
"Ang aming experience is that nagkakaroon ng stigma yung other health workers sa aming pasyente meaning to say, parang hindi welcome ang aming mga pasyente," Roland Cortez, the NCMH chief, said.
Lack of medical workers, nurses
According to a male patient, the NMHC facilities are adequate for his daily needs, as he is able to eat three meals a day and sleep on a bed.
But there was a lack of medical workers and nurses at the center. There were only 83 psychiatrists who serve more than 3,000 patients in the compound.
There were only 459 nurses when there should be 1,094 according to Department of Health standards.
"Sa experience ko today is one is to 66 kung nandiyan yung kasama ko na nurse pero kung mag isa ka talaga, so you will handle all the patients," said nurse Aileen Suyo.
In 2018, schizophrenia was the top case that was referred to the center. Bipolar affective disorder was the second top case.
Once built, the general hospitals will also be open to the public needing medical attention.
In June 2018, Republic Act No. 11036 became the first mental health act legislation in the history of the Philippines. It provides a rights-based mental health bill and a comprehensive framework for the implementation of optimal mental healthcare in the Philippines.—Angelica Yang/LDF, GMA News