The idea of organizing a mental health movement was initiated by Dr. Edward E. Krapf, a World Health Organization consultant, during a meeting among civic leaders to assess the mental health problems in the country brought about by World War II.
In 1958, PMHA organized its first provincial chapter in Cebu City. Creation of PMHA Chapters in strategic parts of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao Regions followed after: Baguio City-Benguet, Davao, Del Norte-Davao City, Cabanatuan City-Nueva Ecija, Negros Oriental – Dumaguete City, Dagupan City -Pangasinan, Negros Occidental-Bacolod City, Cagayan de Oro City, Ilocos Norte-Laoag, Iloilo City, Laguna-San Pablo City, Camarines Sur-Naga, Agusan Del Norte- Butuan, Zamboanga Del Sur – Zamboanga, Lipa-Batangas, and Puerto Princesa, Palawan. To date, PMHA has eight active chapters.
In 1960, the Association expanded its out-patient clinical services to accommodate the needs of the adult mentally ill, emotionally disturbed individuals and their families. The Clinical and Diagnostic Services, the secondary program of the Association, now provides psychiatric and psychological services and other mental health services to all sectors of society.
On May 19, 1965, the Rehabilitation Services (RS), the tertiary program of the Association, was organized. Two halfway homes – Pala-Pala Halfway Community Home for the rural setting and the Stepping Stone for the urban setting were created to provide the recovering mentally ill patients opportunities to regain their status as productive members of society. It later on became a Rehabilitation Work Center and operates as an out-patient center which provides day care services and vocational activities as well as psychosocial therapeutic activities for persons with mental disabilities.
In October 2012, the Rehabilitation Services (RS) was renamed Intervention Services (IS) Department and expanded its services to children and adolescents with special needs. The former Work Center was divided into an Adult Work Center and an Intervention Center for Children and Youth. With its expansion, the IS added occupational therapy service and special educational tutorials to cater to the needs of children and adolescents with mental disabilities.
In 1989, the PMHA National Board of Trustees decided to put up a commercial building along East Avenue property for income generation in order to support its operations and become less dependent on contributions and donations. In the early ‘90s, the Board agreed to a Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) scheme with Lyones Office and Commercial Buildings which gave way to the construction of three commercial buildings along V. Luna Road property and another one along East Avenue property. The LOCB 1 and LOCB 2 & 3 Buildings were turned over to PMHA in 2013 and 2015, respectively. The income from the commercial building helps sustain the Association’s programs and services and operations both in the National Office and Chapters.
Mental health promotion activities lead individuals to practice proactive self-care and healthy help-seeking behaviors.
Premier quality mental health services are made accessible to all stakeholders by competent and compassionate mental health professionals.
The passing of the Mental Health Law (RA 11036) on June 21, 2018, and the subsequent publication of its Implementing Rules and Regulations on January 22, 2019, is a historical feat in the mental health scenario in the Philippines. One of the many highlights of the law is the fact that it makes mental health services accessible to more Filipinos through primary prevention activities. And the conduct of primary prevention activities is one of the strengths of the PMHA.
Primary prevention is defined as an intervention designed specifically to reduce the future incidence of adjustment problems in currently normal populations, including efforts directed at the promotion of mental health (Durlak & Wells, 1997). This practice has been found to be successful in low-income settings (Eaton, et.al, 2011).
With its 69 years of experience in mental health advocacy, PMHA has created and implemented programs for the youth, the family, and in more recent years, the grassroots level through the Mental Health Community Based Program (MHCBP).
In 2017, it forged a partnership with the DOH to implement MHCBP in Marikina City and in most of the PMHA Chapters. The project aimed to respond to the call for primary prevention strategies to promote mental health and reduce incidence of future mental health problems among normal populations at the community level. In doing so, PMHA attempted to narrow the gap between the lack of mental health professionals and the growing number of people who need mental health services.
Lack of awareness and understanding about mental health and mental disorders had been found to be one of the strongest factors for the stigma on mental health. As such, it is important to educate the people, especially those who are at the lower echelons of society about mental health.