It is about time depression gets the attention that it deserves in the Philippines

Mental health especially depression is an ongoing issue around the world. In the Philippines though, the topic is considered taboo. People are afraid or even ashamed to admit that they are facing this mental health issue.

Depression took center stage a couple of weeks ago when famous Eat Bulaga host, Joey De leon, aired his thoughts about depression and angered a lot of netizen. He clearly does not understand the issue back then and downplayed depression tell audience that it’s all in the head and a person can choose to turn off depression just like that. A few days after a public apology was made by Joey De leon on the show.

On October 21, 2017, Eat Bulaga aired their Telemovie called “Love is” which stars Maine Mendoza and Alden Richard. Just to be clear I am not a fan of the ALDUB couple. But their telemovie demands some recognition.

The movie tells the story of a young woman (Maine Mendoza) who is soon to be married but is faced with multiple challenges in her life that led to her depression. First her father suffers a heart attack and then her cousin scams her and took his father’s pension money. She slowly fell to depression and started to keep her problems to herself. She lost hope and was about to commit suicide until she found help and overcame her depression.

Nonie Buencamino plays the father of Maine Mendoza in the movie and his acting was really great. In real life, Nonie lost his daughter to depression. I guess that is why his acting was so heartfelt.

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There is a lot of lessons for the short film.

  1. Depression can happen to anybody. Anyone who is undergoing a prolonged period of sadness can easily fall to depression. Keeping problem to yourself could lead to that. Some might say that It would have been easy for Maine’s character to seek help. This is not true for those who has depression.
  2. If somebody has lost interest in doing things that they use to love, let say like going out with friends, or has been limiting his or her interaction with other people, then that might be a sign of depression.
  3. On one of the scenes, Maine was locking herself up in her room. She is refusing to get up and eat. This also another sign.
  4. This another important lesson, people who are currently depressed feels alone even though they know that their love ones are always there to help them out.
  5. And lastly People are still afraid or ashamed to admit that they need help with their condition. I think this is particularly true as Filipinos are not accustomed to seek help when they are faced with mental health issue.

Why don’t Filipinos seek help when they see signs of depression?First I think people don’t know where to find help and second people have this impression that consultation for mental health is quite expensive. So I tried to search the internet and googled the exact words “how much does it cost for consultation for psychiatrist in Philippines”. Sadly the most recent search was a post way back in 2014.

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I saw this post from (Click here to view) which lists a couple of Doctors in the Quezon City Area that are Psychiatrists. The fee ranges from PHP 500 to PHP 2000 for the consultation. Philippine General hospital offers free consultation for Depression and other mental health issues. You can contact PGH Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at 025260150 or 5548469 loc 2100


On the film “Love is” there were recommendation just before the credits. Here are the recommendations if you need professional help

RMT – CEFAM of Ateneo de Manila at 4264289 to 92

Metropsych Facility at 6436053 loc 107

For Proper referral to a Physciatrist contact the Philippine Psychiatric Association at 6359858 or email at


Closing Note

Mental health is still an issue that a lot of Filipinos don’t truly understand. People would rather sleep it off or drink alcohol when faced with extreme sadness.  Some good came out from Joey De Leon’s remarks a few weeks back. Depression is now being talked about. I am not praising him for those comments nor am I saying that he is the sole reason why people are talking about it. I am just saying that the particular scandal got people talking about depression. Kudos to Eat Bulaga for making the film about depression as a lot of Filipinos has this condition.

But here is the sad part. Only 5% of the national health budget is allocated to Mental health. There are only 700 doctors and 1000 psychiatric nurses in the Philippines who are supposed to serve 100 million Filipinos and most of the facilities which specializes in the Mental health are located on urban areas. I hope our lawmakers and the government would look into this issue. If you want to know the more information on the  symptoms on mental health issues, click here or if you would want to watch “love” is click here.

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