How Much Does Mental Health in the Philippines Cost?

Published: August 27, 2021 | Updated: September 2, 2021 | Posted by: Moneymax | Personal Finance


mental health in the Philippines | Moneymax

People in Southeast Asia had increased interest in mental health-related products and services. A study revealed that the Philippines, along with Malaysia and Indonesia, had had the highest surge in Google searches for mental health services.[1] Filipinos’ searches for mental health-related items surged by 151%, including scented candles, essential oils, therapy lamps, and weighted blankets.

COVID-19 has greatly affected mental health in the Philippines with more and more Filipinos struggling to overcome stress and anxiety.[2] Citing a World Health Organization study, BusinessWorld reports that around 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from at least one kind of mental, neurological, and substance use disorder.

With mental health in the Philippines becoming more at risk of being compromised, are Filipinos prepared to pay for the costs of treatments, medications, and therapies? Where can we seek help and services to cope with depression, anxiety, stress, and bipolar disorder? Keep reading to learn more.

Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health in the Philippines

It’s easy to brush off depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses since we don’t see them. However, we need to understand that mental illness is real; it’s not something that goes away after a good night’s sleep.

In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Philippine Mental Health Bill into law.[3] Authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros, the act aims to integrate psychiatric services and programs in the public health system to support depression in the Philippines and Filipinos suffering from mental illnesses. This also paves the way for a clearer understanding of mental health in the Philippines.

Treatment Facilities for Mental Illness

At present, there are around 60 psychiatric facilities, 700 psychiatrists, and 1,000 psychiatric nurses in the Philippines. Most of them are based in the National Capital Region since majority of mental institutions are located in Metro Manila. The government currently runs the following mental facilities in the country:

  • National Center for Mental Health (Mandaluyong) – Services offered by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) include general adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, women and children protection, crisis management, and drug detoxification and rehabilitation.
  • Philippine General Hospital Psychiatric Department (Manila) – The PGH Psychiatric Department offers psychiatric services for abused children through its Child Protection Unit and psychiatric services for abused women through the department’s Women’s Desk. Psychological testing is available every Friday through appointment.
  • Cavite Center for Mental Health (Cavite) – The Cavite Center for Mental Health offers rehabilitative, curative and preventive mental health services. The hospital is located along Trece-Indang Road, Trece Martires, Cavite.
  • Mariveles Mental Ward (Bataan) – The Mariveles Mental Ward is considered a Custodial Psychiatric Care Facility under the Department of Health. The mental ward has a capacity of 500 beds.

Private hospitals such as the University of Santo Tomas, Makati Medical Center, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, and Metro Psychotherapy Facility also offer mental care services. Nearby provinces like Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal have its fair share of mental facilities, too.

Getting Professional Help: Mental Health Costs in the Philippines

How Much Does Therapy Cost?

Mental Health in the Philippines - How much is therapy in the Philippines?

Despite the increasing number of mental health facilities, access to professional treatment such as counseling in the Philippines is still a challenge. Why? Because the cost of therapy and other types of treatment is expensive.

In Metro Manila, the cost of therapy per session ranges from PHP 1,000 to PHP 4,500. Depending on the case, a patient may visit once or twice a month.

The NCMH admits patients who wish to seek advanced psychological health treatments. See the table below to check its hospital rates and other fees.

Service/ItemRate
Outpatient Section (OPS)
Consultation Fee (OPS Pay)PHP 400
E.R. FeePHP 400
ACIS Fee (per Classification)
1st Day AdmissionPHP 1,650
Succeeding days500
Four-day confinementPHP 3,150
Class A and B (full payment)PHP 3,150
Class C1 (25% discount)PHP 2,362.50
Class C2 (50% discount)PHP 1,575
Class C3 (75% discount)PHP 787.50
Class D (donation)PHP 500
Infirmary Rates
E.R FeePHP 300
OPDPHP 300
WardPHP 650/day
Private RoomPHP 750/day
Suite RoomPHP 1,200/day

Check the full rates on the NCMH website (www.ncmh.gov.ph).

How Much Does It Cost to Consult a Psychiatrist?

The cost of therapy in the Philippines depends on the institution offering the service. Consulting a private doctor can go up to PHP 4,500 per session. However, some institutions offer free consultation. Here is a quick guide:

InstitutionLocationCost of Therapy
Ateneo de Manila Bulatao CenterQuezon CityPHP 2,400 for the initial visit, PHP 1,800 for succeeding sessions
Ateneo de Manila CeFamQuezon CityPay what you can
Beauty Care and Mental Health ClinicBaguio CityPHP 600 for the initial visit, PHP 500 for succeeding sessions
Department of Psychiatry, The Medical CityPasig CityPHP 500 for the initial visit, PHP 450 for succeeding sessions
Don Bosco Makati CeFamMakati CityPay what you can
FEU Nicanor Reyes Medical FoundationQuezon CityPHP 150 for the initial visit, PHP 120 for succeeding sessions
National Center for Mental HealthMandaluyong CityPHP 400 per session. They also give free consultations.
Philippine Mental Health AssociationQuezon CityPHP 1,000 for the initial visit, PHP 700 for succeeding sessions. Discounts are also available.
PsychConsult Inc.Quezon CityPHP 3,500 for the initial visit, PHP 1,750 for succeeding sessions
SLU Sunflower Children's CenterBaguio CityPHP 600 per session
University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical CenterManilaPHP 100 per session

How Much Do Antidepressants Cost in the Philippines?

Medications for treatment of anxiety and depression are quite expensive, too. Known brands such as Xanax and Prozac cost around PHP 130 per tablet while other antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs can cost as much as PHP 300 each.

Here are some of the common medications used for mental health issues and their costs, according to the National Center for Mental Health’s pharmacy:

BrandGeneric NamemgPrice per PiecePurpose
EpivalDivalproex Na250PHP 30For treatment of manic-depressive illness
DepakoteDivalproex Na250PHP 30For treatment of manic-depressive illness
Q-WinQuetiapine100PHP 32.50For treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder
EscivexEscitaloprám oxalate10PHP 6.50For treatment of depression and anxiety
S-CelepraEscitaloprám oxalate10PHP 19.50For treatment of depression and anxiety
LexaproEscitaloprám oxalate5PHP 65.00For treatment of depression and anxiety
Feliz S 10Escitaloprám oxalate10PHP 50.00PHP 50.00
XanorAlprazolam5PHP 36.00For the treatment of anxiety
SertalineSerenata5PHP 64.00For the treatment of depression

Note: The abovementioned medications are for reference only. This does not serve as a prescription. Such medication should be only taken with medical consultation.

PhilHealth Coverage for Mental Health Services

Before the enactment of the Mental Health Law, PhilHealth coverage had been limited only to hospitalization due to mental and behavioral disorders at a package rate of PHP 7,800.

Amid the pandemic, PhilHealth is working with the Department of Health to add mental health services to its primary care package for Filipinos.[4]

Some health insurance companies also cover mental health-related consultations and medications, but all of them should start offering mental health coverage.

This is something that corporations and government institutions need to address. In the meantime, Filipinos who wish to seek financial assistance for mental health treatments can rely on personal loans for medical bills. A secured medical plan can certainly aid individuals who find mental health services costly.

Read more: What is the Universal Healthcare Act and How Will It Benefit Us?

Apply for a personal loan at Moneymax!

Mental Health Facilities with Free Therapy and Consultations

While mental health costs can get pricey, there are institutions in the Philippines that offer free therapy and mental health consultations. If you have mental issues you’re too ashamed to disclose with your loved ones, this is your chance to talk with an expert on how to properly address them.

  • Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (Marikina City)
  • National Center for Mental Health (Mandaluyong City)
  • Ateneo Center for Family Ministries (Quezon City)
  • Philippine General Hospital (Ermita, Manila)
  • UST Graduate School’s Psychotrauma Clinic (Sampaloc, Manila)
  • UST Outpatient Department (Sampaloc, Manila)
  • East Avenue Medical Center (Quezon City)

In May 2019, DOH also launched a nationwide mental crisis hotline, in partnership with the National Center for Mental Health. The hotline is open 24/7 for those in need of emergency counseling or treatment.

“The hotline aims to send a message to those with mental health issues that they are not alone. It’s okay to not be okay. There is hope. Recovery is possible and there should be no shame in getting help,” DOH Secretary Fransico Duque III said about the hotline. Here are the numbers you need to remember:

DOH Mental Crisis Hotline:

  • 0917-899-USAP (8727)
  • 0917-989-8727

You can also reach out for help through the following hotlines:

  • HOPELINE – (02) 804-4673 (HOPE), 0917-558-4673 (HOPE), 2919 (toll-free for Globe and TM subscribers
  • In Touch Community Services Crisis Lines – (02) 893-7603, 0917-800-1123 (Globe subscribers), 0922-893-8944 (Sun subscribers)
  • Living Free Foundation – 0917-322-7087
  • Manila Lifeline Centre – (02) 896-9191, 0917-854-9191
  • Mood Harmony – (02) 844-2941
  • PsychPros – 0915-827-2415

Online Therapy and Mental Health Consultation Platforms

Mental Health in the Philippines - Online therapy

During these trying times, feeling anxious and scared is normal. It can also be difficult to visit a therapist because of government restrictions. However, you can consult with a licensed professional online to keep your mental health in check.

Here are the organizations offering online consultations. Some of them offer the service for free:

1. Ateneo Bulatao Center

Website: www.ateneobulataocenter.com

Provides free online consultation and free psychological first aid.

2. Circle of Hope Community Services, Inc.

Website: www.circleofhopecommunity.com

A non-profit organization offering support and online consultation for individuals with mental health issues. They also promote effective coping and resilience for healthcare workers. Consultation is free.

3. DFS Consulting PH 

Website: dfsconsultingph.com

Offers online consultation services via voice, chat, or video. Cost of therapy depends on the service provided

4. Mental Health First Responders (MHFR) 

Gives free peer-to-peer and family support. You can avail of their service by filling out this form.[5]

5. Mind Care Club

Website: www.mindcareclub.com

Therapy is done through an online conference with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor. The cost of therapy depends on the service provided

6. Philippine Mental Health Association

Get in touch with them via their official Facebook page or through pmhacds@gmailcom or call 0917-565-2036. Consultation is free.

7. Prescription Psychiatrists

Website: www.prescriptionpsychiatrists.com.ph/online-consult

Provides online consultation services and digital mental health prescriptions. Cost of therapy is between PHP 2,000 to PHP 2,500.

8. Recovery Hub

Website: app.recoveryhub.ph

A mental health platform offering consultation with licensed professionals online. Cost of therapy depends on the service provided.

Read more: 6 Credible Telehealth Services for Online Medical Consultation

Mental Health Support Groups and Resources

You can also check out the following resources to learn more about mental health in the Philippines. These resources also offer support for individuals with mental disorders.

1. Anxiety and Depression Support Philippines (ADS)

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ADSPpage

A support group founded in 2013 helping Filipinos with anxiety and depression.

2. Buhay Movement

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/buhayph

The movement translates to celebration of life, aiming to support and give individuals struggling with mental illnesses the resources they need.

3. Coalescent Foundation

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CoalescentFoundation

A foundation aiming to spread awareness, acceptance, and access to mental health issues and mood disorders.

4. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Philippines (MHPSS) 

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MHPSS

This initiative provides psychosocial support and intervention to survivors of disasters and other health emergencies.

5. National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) 

Website: www.nami.org/home

Advocates for mental health and illness awareness in the country.

6. Philippine Mental Health Association Inc. 

Website: www.pmha.org.ph

A private non-profit organization promoting mental health and prevention of mental disorders.

7. Psychological Association of the Philippines

Website: www.pap.org.ph

An association of professional psychologists, promoting excellence in teaching about mental health.

8. PRISM 

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/watchprism

An initiative that aims to bring awareness to mental health through video series.

9. Talang Dalisay 

Website: www.talangdalisay.org

A non-profit organization that centers on mental health for and by Filipino youth.

How to Cut Down the Costs of Mental Health Treatment and Services

The cost of mental health in the Philippines can take a toll on your budget and can even impact your relationship with people around you. Although the Mental Health Act can provide help for many Filipinos, there are also other ways to reduce your mental healthcare costs.

Get a PWD ID for Psychosocial Disability and Mental or Learning Disability

Applying for a PWD ID will help reduce your costs on medications among other benefits. Aside from enjoying a 20% discount and Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption, you can also get a 5% discount on necessities. PWDs with valid IDs are also prioritized on express lanes and provided with city-specific benefits.

Help Yourself for Better Mental Health

According to Audre Laude, self-care is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation. When we take care of ourselves, we share with the world what is best for us and not what is left of us. We don’t wear ourselves out until we don’t have anything left. So when depression, anxiety, and stress strike, we still can do a lot of things to fight them.

Value Yourself

Only you know what you’re capable of, and no matter how much criticism you receive from others, your self-respect and self-love should matter more than their opinion.

Take Care of Your Body

Drink plenty of water, exercise, get enough sleep and eat right. A healthy body can help you think happy thoughts.

Read more:

Set a Realistic Goal

Each day, when you wake up, set simple goals to achieve by the end of the day. You can declutter your closet or call a few friends. You can also start a gardening project that helps keep your mind and body fit.

Talk About Your Feelings

Some of the most kept pains and disappointments can lead to depression and anxiety. To prevent you from succumbing to mental health issues, try expressing yourself. Talk to a counselor or a relative about how you’re feeling and listen to what they can say. Different views can help you come to devise a perfect action plan for your mental condition.

Take a Break

When you’re feeling tired and helpless, take a pause. Break away from your routine and try to find breathing space. Give yourself some time to rest, think, and unwind. By then, you’ll get back the energy and drive to finish what you’ve started without succumbing to burnout.

Ask for Help

There will be a lot of help from different treatment and mental health facilities. You can even join groups to share your thoughts. And the biggest help can come from your friends and family. Don’t hesitate to express and share because through these, you can and will overcome mental health issues.

Final Thoughts

Mental health issues are often regarded as a taboo. But it’s a reality everyone has to deal with. If you’re currently suffering from any mental health issue, don’t be afraid to seek help. Yes, it may cost you some money, but remember that your well-being is at stake here. You’ll certainly feel better once you’ve talked to someone, or at least have your concerns heard by a professional.

Psychotherapy and other mental health costs in the Philippines are expensive. If you don’t have the budget right now, it doesn’t mean you have to put off your mental health care until you’ve saved enough money. You may borrow money through a personal loan for medical purposes, so you can pay for the cost of your mental health care/treatment right away.

Disclaimer: This article is created for general information purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Consult a licensed professional regarding your questions and concerns about mental health.

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