Philippine Mental Health Association

a private, non-stock, non-profit organization that provides premier Mental Health Services through advocacy, education, intervention and research.

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.

On January 15, 1950, the Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc. (PMHA) was formally organized by Dr. Manuel Arguelles as its first President. The Association focused on providing mental health services through the Child Guidance Clinic and educational programs on mental health among college students. The office of the Association was then located at the Methodist Social Center in Sampaloc, Manila. In 1958, it moved to its present home at #18 East Avenue, Quezon City.

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 the early ‘60s, the Association through the Education Information Services (now renamed Education, Advocacy and Research Department - EARD) as its primary program has expanded its educational programs by organizing mental health seminar workshops and conducting leadership training and counseling sessions among the youth. To date, it has organized numerous student mental health clubs in the different public high schools and private colleges and universities. Since 1951, PMHA has continued to lead the celebration of National Mental Health Week every 2nd week of October and World Mental Health Day every 10th day October.

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.

In the late ‘90s, the Clinical and Diagnostic Services (CDS) Department has created the Family Support Group which aims to empower families of mental health consumers through psycho-education and training on mental health.

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.

PMHA remains to be a formidable leader in the field of mental health. It continues to strengthen its partnerships, both with the government and non-government organizations, as well as with the business sectors to achieve its goal of promoting sound mental health for the Filipino people.


PMHA exists to promote mental health and well-being among the general population, prevent mental disorders, eradicate stigma, and inspire individuals to become mental health advocates.


The Filipino people with the highest level of mental health.


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.

Evidence-based data on mental health and mental disorders are produced and utilized.

Current Situationer

For the past four decades, mental health initiatives in the Philippines have largely focused on the treatment of those with mental disorder in hospital settings (Department of Health, 2008). In the Philippines, there are only about 700 psychiatrists for more than 110 million Filipinos. More generally, the ratio of the country’s mental health workforce to the current population is estimated to be around 3 to 100,000 (Samaniego, 2017). What compounds this problem is the inequitable distribution of these 700 psychiatrists – more than 30% of whom are practicing in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in urban settings or large cities such as Cebu, Davao and Iloilo. With this, it is not surprising that there is a dearth in mental health services especially for those who are at the barangays/communities. With the current number of mental health professionals and the fact that 1 in 5 Filipinos suffer from a mental or psychiatric disorder according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (Samaniego, 2017), it is imperative to make mental health services available at the primary level; more so the provision of preventive and promotive mental health services.

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,, 2011).

While a number of professional and non-government organizations conduct activities to create awareness about a specific mental disorder (e.g., depression, suicide, etc.), PMHA is the only national organization that has structured preventive mental health programs for different sectors of society. At present, PMHA has eight Chapters all over the country that help cascade the Association’s advocacy to these areas.

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.

And this is what PMHA stands for

Human Dignity

Respect for the personal worth and dignity of every person and all communities that we serve regardless of gender, race, political affiliation, religion and socio-economic status.


Caring response to the mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual and physical needs of every person and community that we serve.


Honesty, moral uprightness, consistency of actions, adherence to truthfulness, and upholding the highest standards of ethical practice.


Responsible stewardship of human, financial, technological, intellectual property and physical resources of the Association.

Lina B. Laigo, Ph.D


Cornelio G. Banaag, Jr., M.D.


Violeta V. Baustista, Ph.D., RPSY, C.CI.P., RGC., C.Ass.P., C.C.P


Ponciano A. Menguito, Ed.D.


Bernardino A. Vicente. M.D.


AR. Mariano S. Arce, Jr.



Violeta V. Baustista, Ph.D., RPSY, C.CI.P., RGC., C.Ass.P., C.C.P

Ponciano A. Menguito, Ed.D.

Bernardino A. Vicente. M.D.

Violeta V. Baustista, Ph.D., RPSY, C.CI.P., RGC., C.Ass.P., C.C.P

Ponciano A. Menguito, Ed.D.

Bernardino A. Vicente. M.D.