How Much Does Mental Health in the Philippines Cost?
Published: August 27, 2021 | Updated: September 2, 2021 | Posted by: Moneymax | Personal Finance
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. 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. 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.
Table of Contents
- Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health in the Philippines
- Treatment Facilities for Mental Illness
- Getting Professional Help: Mental Health Costs in the Philippines
- PhilHealth Coverage for Mental Health Services
- Mental Health Facilities with Free Therapy and Consultations
- Online Therapy and Mental Health Consultation Platforms
- Mental Health Support Groups and Resources
- 1. Anxiety and Depression Support Philippines (ADS)
- 2. Buhay Movement
- 3. Coalescent Foundation
- 4. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Philippines (MHPSS)
- 5. National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)
- 6. Philippine Mental Health Association Inc.
- 7. Psychological Association of the Philippines
- 8. PRISM
- 9. Talang Dalisay
- How to Cut Down the Costs of Mental Health Treatment and Services
- Final Thoughts
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. 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?
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.
|Outpatient Section (OPS)|
|Consultation Fee (OPS Pay)||PHP 400|
|E.R. Fee||PHP 400|
|ACIS Fee (per Classification)|
|1st Day Admission||PHP 1,650|
|Four-day confinement||PHP 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|
|E.R Fee||PHP 300|
|Private Room||PHP 750/day|
|Suite Room||PHP 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:
|Institution||Location||Cost of Therapy|
|Ateneo de Manila Bulatao Center||Quezon City||PHP 2,400 for the initial visit, PHP 1,800 for succeeding sessions|
|Ateneo de Manila CeFam||Quezon City||Pay what you can|
|Beauty Care and Mental Health Clinic||Baguio City||PHP 600 for the initial visit, PHP 500 for succeeding sessions|
|Department of Psychiatry, The Medical City||Pasig City||PHP 500 for the initial visit, PHP 450 for succeeding sessions|
|Don Bosco Makati CeFam||Makati City||Pay what you can|
|FEU Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation||Quezon City||PHP 150 for the initial visit, PHP 120 for succeeding sessions|
|National Center for Mental Health||Mandaluyong City||PHP 400 per session. They also give free consultations.|
|Philippine Mental Health Association||Quezon City||PHP 1,000 for the initial visit, PHP 700 for succeeding sessions. Discounts are also available.|
|PsychConsult Inc.||Quezon City||PHP 3,500 for the initial visit, PHP 1,750 for succeeding sessions|
|SLU Sunflower Children's Center||Baguio City||PHP 600 per session|
|University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center||Manila||PHP 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:
|Brand||Generic Name||mg||Price per Piece||Purpose|
|Epival||Divalproex Na||250||PHP 30||For treatment of manic-depressive illness|
|Depakote||Divalproex Na||250||PHP 30||For treatment of manic-depressive illness|
|Q-Win||Quetiapine||100||PHP 32.50||For treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder|
|Escivex||Escitaloprám oxalate||10||PHP 6.50||For treatment of depression and anxiety|
|S-Celepra||Escitaloprám oxalate||10||PHP 19.50||For treatment of depression and anxiety|
|Lexapro||Escitaloprám oxalate||5||PHP 65.00||For treatment of depression and anxiety|
|Feliz S 10||Escitaloprám oxalate||10||PHP 50.00||PHP 50.00|
|Xanor||Alprazolam||5||PHP 36.00||For the treatment of anxiety|
|Sertaline||Serenata||5||PHP 64.00||For 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.
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.
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)
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
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
Provides free online consultation and free psychological first aid.
2. Circle of Hope Community Services, Inc.
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
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. Mind Care Club
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
Provides online consultation services and digital mental health prescriptions. Cost of therapy is between PHP 2,000 to PHP 2,500.
8. Recovery Hub
A mental health platform offering consultation with licensed professionals online. Cost of therapy depends on the service provided.
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.
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)
Advocates for mental health and illness awareness in the country.
6. Philippine Mental Health Association Inc.
A private non-profit organization promoting mental health and prevention of mental disorders.
7. Psychological Association of the Philippines
An association of professional psychologists, promoting excellence in teaching about mental health.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/watchprism
An initiative that aims to bring awareness to mental health through video series.
9. Talang Dalisay
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
-  Southeast Asia’s Interest in Mental Health-Related Services & Products Skyrockets (iprice.my, 2021)
-  Coronavirus takes its toll on mental health as Filipinos battle stress, anxiety (BusinessWorld, 2021)
-  Duterte signs Philippine Mental Health Law (Elemia, Rappler, 2018)
-  PhilHealth to include mental health services in primary health care package (ABS-CBN News, 2021)
-  MHFR Emotional/Peer Support Services Form
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