Engendering Mental Health Care Services (Making the Health Care Delivery System Gender-Responsive)

  • Luzviminda Valencia


The purpose of this paper is to determine the gender responsiveness of the present mental health delivery system in the Philippines. According to the 1995 Census of the Population, 4.2 percent of the disabled population are mentally ill. In numerical terms, this is about 38,675 of 919,332 persons with disabilities. Of these, 52.64 percent are female while 47.36 percent are male. Most of those afflicted are in the 25-39 age group. The study is based on interviews with selected mental health care givers in an NGO clinic and in a government hospital and on observations of interactions between patients and care givers. At present, interest in mental illness among women is focused on domestic workers or overseas Filipino workers in foreign countries. While studies on psychiatric morbidity may be useful, these do not reflect the need to understand the social construction of gender in society. What is needed are studies that will constribute to changes in institutional treatment and policy development geared towards gender-responsive practices in mental health care settings.