Depressed people

May 30, 2020

IF more people are depressed and gripped with anxiety these days, blame it partly on the imposition of quarantine in various parts of the country.

Of course, this is understandable because people, particularly the poorest of the poor, under lockdown experience more problems than those living in corona virus-free communities.

But admittedly, the Filipino people welcomed the crippling lockdown because it is aimed at preventing the further spread of the deadly corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Since March, when President Duterte placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the National Mental Health Center (NMHC) has been bombarded with calls for help.

Before the mid-March lockdown in Luzon, the NMHC just received around 60 to 80 calls a month.

But when the ECQ was imposed, the calls rose to as high as 400 a month, meaning that more Filipinos want to communicate with experts, according to Dr. Rolando Cortez, NMHC chair.

Dr. Cortez made the statement during a public hearing conducted by the Senate committee on health and demography, headed by Senator Bong Go, a close associate of Duterte.

Go said that aside from physical health, concerned government authorities must also promote and protect the Filipino people’s mental health.

Aware of the situation, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., otherwise known as PhilHealth, to review its coverage for mental health services.

Angara said more Filipinos might be in need of professional help due to depression and anxiety brought about by the dreaded corona virus, which originated from China.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, chair of the PhilHealth Board, said a review is in the pipeline and will start in the third quarter of 2020.

Like the rest of the Filipino people not only in the metropolis but elsewhere, we support the snowballing move in Congress to review PhilHealth’s coverage for mental health services.