Prevention and Management of Mental health Conditions in the Philippines: The Case for Investment

Prevention and Management of Mental Health Conditions in the Philippines: The Case for Investment

Oct 14, 2021

Mental, neurological and substance use conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, epilepsy, dementia and alcohol-use disorders, pose a significant challenge in the Philippines. In 2017, the two most common mental health conditions, anxiety and depression, accounted for over 800 000 years of life lived with disability in the country, leading not only to vast human suffering but also to economic losses due to the impact on the workforce productivity. Reported suicide rates in the Philippines have been increasing over the past several decades, particularly among young people, with the latest estimate (in 2015) indicating 17% of young people aged 13–15 had attempted suicide. 

This report provides an assessment of the current mental health situation in the country – including challenges and opportunities for development of the mental health system – and economic evidence for the attributable and avertable burdens of a number of leading mental, neurological and substance use conditions (psychosis, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, epilepsy and alcohol use disorders). Intervention costs, health gains and economic benefits were estimated for these six conditions and their treatment as well as for three population-based prevention interventions: universal and indicated school-based interventions for preventing depression and suicide and a nationwide regulatory ban on highly hazardous pesticides to prevent suicide. These interventions will have co-benefits for the development agenda, contributing to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) other than target 3.4, “to reduce by 2030 by one third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and promote mental health and well-being”. 

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