Mental Illness in the Philippines: Cost of Therapy and Medication

Published: September 2, 2020 | Updated: September 4, 2020 | Posted by: Moneymax | Personal Finance


Mental Health in the Philippines: Cost of Therapy and Medication | Moneymax

Mental health is a growing concern in the Philippines. According to the Department of Health (DOH), at least 19 million Filipinos experience psychiatric problems[1], with schizophrenia as the top mental issue. Suicide caused by mental illnesses is a pressing issue as well–at least three men and two women commit suicide for ever 100,000 Filipinos. Apart from the stigma surrounding mental health, the cost of therapy is also quite steep, with one therapy session costing up to PHP 4,500 in Metro Manila.

“We need to start talking about depression to end the stigma surrounding mental health because, when left unattended, it can lead to suicide,” the DOH said in a statement[2] released late last year. Mental health affects everyone: rich and poor, celebrities and laypeople, children and adults alike.

In this article, we listed down resources and institutions where you can get help for you or your loved ones suffering from mental illness.

Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health

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.

cost of therapy in the philippines - risa hontiveros

Photo from the Office of Senator Risa Hontiveros

In 2018, PRRD signed the Philippines 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 generally 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)
  • Philippine General Hospital Psychiatric Department (Manila)
  • Cavite Center for Mental Health (Cavite)
  • Mariveles Mental Ward (Bataan)

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: How Much is Therapy in the Philippines?

Mental Health in the Philippines: Cost of Therapy and Medication - 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. Medication is quite expensive, too. Known brands such as Xanax and Prozac cost around PHP 130 per tablet while other anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs can cost as much as PHP 300 each.

The National Center for Mental Health admits patients who wish to seek advance psychological health treatments. See the photo below to check their psychiatrist rates and other related fees.

Mental Health in the Philippines: Cost of Therapy and Medication - NMCH hospital rates

Photo c/o www.ncmh.gov.ph

And 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 nameNumber of mgPrice 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.

How Much Does it Cost to See a Psychiatrist?

The cost of therapy in the country depends on the institution offering the service. Consulting with 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

PhilHealth and Insurance Coverage for Mental Illness

National Mental Health Week is celebrated every second week of October pursuant to Proclamation No. 452.😊😉#NationalMentalHealthWeek#MyPhilHealth

Posted by Philippine Health Insurance Corporation on Sunday, 7 October 2018

Good news: PhilHealth now offers mental health packages. The government-owned agency can cover the cost of therapy consultations with psychiatrists. Members can avail it just like any medical treatment. 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 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 Consultations

Mental Health in the Philippines: Cost of Therapy and Medication - 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 up this form.

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: ww.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

Kapit lang, malalagpasan mo din ito ❤️#NanditoAko#BuhayMovement

Posted by Buhay Movement on Thursday, 23 July 2020

You can also check out the following resources to learn more about mental health in the country. 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.

Final Thoughts

If you know anyone suffering from mental issues, be a friend. Never dismiss their concerns like most people. Rather, hear them out and encourage them to seek professional treatment. It’s never too late to help someone in need. Likewise, if you’re currently suffering from any mental illness, don’t be afraid to seek help. You will certainly feel better once you talked to someone, or at least have your concerns heard by a professional.

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