Here in the Philippines, the psychological aspect of a specific person is not actually being focused on. This is one of the main reasons why many Filipinos still believe in a lot of superstitious occurrences like sapi or possession. While in the psychological world, possession is merely insanity or an act of a person who is experiencing intense hallucinations with reality distortion. Having that said, millions of Filipinos think that psychological aspects are not relevant. However, we need to understand that it is actually concerning.
Currently, there are around 700 practicing psychiatrists in the Philippines and around 1,000 psychiatric nurses. Furthermore, a majority of the demographic is working in the National Capital Region (NCR) area. Out of over a hundred million people living in our country, the number of psychiatrists won’t be able to cope with the total population residing in the country.
What we should understand
Although a lot of Filipinos use the term “baliw,” “abnormal,” and a few others to degrade other people, it should come to mind that these words are actually real conditions, which need attention. In the country, depression, anxiety, and other psychological troubles are easily brushed off because of the known nature of Filipinos to be happy, carefree, and worry-free.
The stigma should be changed and broken, why? Because psychological conditions and troubles are real; they’re not just imaginations, they are real conditions that are experienced by a number of people – and they need attention.
Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist
If you’re wondering and confused between the two professions, let me give you a brief introduction on what the two professions are:
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in the mental health aspect of a person which includes substance and alcohol abuse. They are the professionals who qualify to assess both the physical and mental aspects of problems relating to the psychology of a person. Furthermore, they’re the people qualified to provide medications to help mentally challenged people.
A psychologist, on the other hand, is a more broad profession. They’re usually the ones who conduct therapies, assessments, and evaluations to help a patient overcome psychological diagnoses. These include traumatic experiences, primary diagnoses, and other mental challenges a person might experience.
Are there treatment facilities in our country?
Although many Filipinos still fail to realize the legitimacy of psychological concerns, there are treatment facilities scattered in and around the country. Currently, the following treatment facilities are the ones run by the government here in the Philippines:
- Cavite Center for Mental Health (Cavite City)
- Mariveles Mental Ward (Bataan)
- National Center for Mental Health (Mandaluyong City)
- Philippine General Hospital Psychiatric Deparment (Manila City)
In addition to these centers, there are private hospitals who also offer mental health care here in our country. The following are:
- Makati Medical Center
- Metro Psychotherapy Facility
- University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center
- University of Santo Tomas
If you’re interested in knowing whether or not your vicinity has a mental medical center, access the Webb Line mental health website.
What are the costs of professional treatment?
To be frank and straight, psychological services with treatment are quite expensive. This is also one reason why a lot of Filipinos try to ignore diagnoses and observations and somehow look into it as just a “phase in a person’s life.”
In Metro Manila, where most mental institutions are located, a private session with a therapist usually is around P2, 000 to P3, 000; it still depends on the case of the individual.
Sessions could be at least two (2) or three (3) times a week and that still depends on the diagnosis and observations of the Psychologist to a patient. In addition to that, medication could be quite a hole in the pockets, too. Xanax, a well-known tranquilizer that is commonly prescribed to anxiety patients usually cost around P120 per tablet.
How about clinics that offer free psychiatric consultation? Are there any?
Recently, a list of free psychiatric consultation has been circulating the Internet due to a number of people and children needing mental aid. The institutions that offer free psychiatric consultation are:
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH)
Address: Taft Avenue Ermita Brgy 670 Zone 72, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Department you need to look for: PGH Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Department (2/F, Ward 7)
Consulting/Clinic hours: 24 hours
Contact numbers: (02) 554-8400 loc 2346 or 2440; (02) 554-88470; (02) 526-0150; and (02) 554-8469
What they provide: Free psychiatric consultation
NOTE: The waiting list is long. Arrive early and be patient for your turn. The department operates for 24 hours so don’t worry.
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Graduate School Psychotrauma Clinic
Address: España Blvd., Sampaloc Manila, Metro Manila
Department you need to look for: Room 104, Ground Floor, Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, University of Santo Tomas
Consulting/Clinic hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 A.M. to 05:00 P.M. (Closed during holidays, school breaks, class suspensions, and other times where there are no classes)
Contact number: (02) 406-1611 local 4012
What they provide: The provide free psychological services like assessment and evaluation, counseling, and individual and/or group psychotherapy
The Ateneo Center for Family Ministries Foundation (CEFAM)
Address: Katpinan Avenue, Quezon City, 1108 Metro Manila
Department you need to look for: Spiritual-Pastoral Center, Ateneo de Manila University Campus
Consulting hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 A.M. to 05:00 P.M. (Closed during holidays, school breaks, class suspensions, and other times where there are no classes)
Contact number: (02) 426-4289 to 92
What they provide: They provide free consultation for family and individual counseling via a psycho-spiritual approach
NOTE: There are no fees upon consultation. They’re on a donation type of basis.
Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center
Address: Sumulong Highway, Sto Niño, Marikina City
Consulting/Clinic hours: They’re accommodating from 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., Mondays ‘til Fridays except non-working holidays and work cancellations. They have registration cutoff periods of:
- Morning (A.M.) Sessions 8:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.
- Afternoon (P.M.) Sessions 1:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M.
Contact number: (02) 941-6289
What they provide: They provide basic consulting and brief psychotherapeutic techniques
Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center
Address: Corner Engage St., Magsaysay Blvd., Tacloban City, Leyte
Contact: [email protected] | (053) 323-7110
What they provide: They provide free medication and free consultation
Batangas Medical Center
Address: Bihi Road, Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas
Consulting/Clinic hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Contact number: (043) 740-8307
What they provide: They provide free consultation
Cainta Municipal Hospital
Address: Bonifaco Avenue, Rose Pack Compound, Cainta, Rizal
Consulting/Clinic hours: 24 hours
Contact number: (02) 696-2604
What they provide: They offer free consultation for residents and free medication (if available)
National Center for Mental Health (NCMH)
Address: Nueve de Pebrero St., Mauway Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Consulting/Clinic hours: Mondays ’til Fridays **except Thursdays
Contact number: (02) 531-9001 | (02) 531-9002
What they provide: They provide free medication to patients in the center.
If you think and feel that you are psychologically troubled, feel free to have and schedule a consultation. Doing so can free you of whatever you are experiencing. Here in our country, it’s a common thing to criticize, degrade, and frown down upon people who are mentally challenged and psychologically disturbed.
Do you know someone who might need professional psychological services? Do you think that consulting a professional can overall increase your chances of regaining composure, mental, and psychological strength?