Hontiveros raises need for ‘proper coordination’ in suicide prevention hotlines
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said she is looking forward for “proper coordination” to happen between the Natasha Goldbourn Foundation’s Hopeline Philippines and the Department of Health (DOH) regarding the separation of suicide prevention hotlines.
“We look forward to proper coordination between Natasha Goldbourn Foundation’s Hopeline initiative and the DOH’s new service, so that we can see convergent and efficient progress in the collection of data and the appropriate attention to individual cases of mental health issues in the Philippines,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
Hontiveros’ statement came after Hopeline Philippines revealed that it will continue to operate even after the DOH and National Center for Mental Health has withdrawn support.
The DOH later issued a statement saying that it is “required to adhere to the stringent government rules for procurement.”
“After several consultations, it became clear that it is necessary for DOH to set up its own crisis hotline through the National Center for Mental Health upon the signing of the Mental Health Act of 2019,” the DOH’s statement further read.
Hontiveros served as author and principal author of the bill in the Senate.
“I’m grateful that Hopeline has found a way to continue operating, and I am confident that impact should be minimal now that it has secured independent funding,” the senator said.
She added that although the Mental Health Law was an “undeniable milestone” in the country, she admitted, “we still have a long way to go when it comes to breaking down the longstanding wall of stigma.”
“A hotline removes a significant layer of that wall, and allows people and institutions to be connected in times when it matters the most,” she said.
“The government’s commitment and priority must be the mental health of the Filipino people. We must sustain our people’s line to essential hope.” (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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