Here in the Philippines, there are only about 500 licensed psychiatrists that could provide their services to individuals who might need their help. It is estimated that there is 1 psychiatrist for every 200,000 Filipinos. How can one psychiatrist be able to cope up with this number? One in every 20 Filipinos has a mental disorder. And it is depressing enough not to be able to provide care to these people not because there are just a few specialist, but the lack of resources to be able to have treatment.
As described by Wikipedia, “A mental disorder or psychiatric disorder is a psychological pattern or anomaly, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development in a person’s culture. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, act, think or perceive. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system, often in a social context.” While people would have pertained such mental disorder to just being crazy, there are just a few mental conditions listed by Wikipedia . The most common of which is Depression. Just in 2004, there had been about 4.5 Million Filipinos suffering from depression. The stigma that our society has brought up that any mental health issues means being psychotic puts a strain to the family of the affected individual from seeking medical advice or treatment. Not unless we properly address this issue, then there would be an increase of these patients each year.
The government ought to put up better Mental Health Programs to aid our fellow Filipinos. I know that a lot of the depression is coming from the reason of not having provided better for the family due to our poor economic status. Little to no resources at all has lead people to this state. The health department should be able to have an extensive program that will give proper care to these people especially to the elderly. But the initial step in helping these individuals should start at home. The support of family and friends are much needed so that these people would be able to gain back their old selves again.
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