A CONGRESSMAN has filed a bill seeking to include all mental health disorders under the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) coverage.   

“Mental health services remain inaccessible to the general public,” North Cotabato Rep. Ma. Alana Samantha T. Santos said in House Bill 8470.   

PhilHealth covers up to P7,800 for several mental health conditions namely dementia, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.  

A similar measure is pending in a Senate committee. 

The Health department, Philippine Council for Mental Health and key stakeholders will be mandated to create a benefit package for Filipinos covering all mental illnesses. 

The benefit package should cover emergency services, psychiatric and neurological services and therapy sessions, according to the bill.  

Funding for the package will be charged to the total revenue of PhilHealth, particularly contributions from direct contributors and subsidies from indirect contributors. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said 16.8% of Filipino students aged 13 to 17 have attempted suicide at least once a year. 

Health insurers in February said it plans to offer an improved mental health package. 

“There is a need to emphasize the inclusion of mental health services in the overall universal healthcare package, in order to make mental health services truly accessible to all,” Ms. Santos said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz