DOH withdraws support to Hopeline after launching national crisis hotline
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Thursday, June 27, it can no longer continue funding Hopeline, a 24/7 suicide prevention and crisis support helpline beyond October 2019.
Two days before DOH made its statement, Hopeline announced on Twitter that it will cease operations starting July 1 after the department withdrew its support.
It is with a heavy heart that we, the Hopeline Philippines responders along with Natasha Goulbourn Foundation, inform you that the Hopeline Philippines cease to operate starting July 1, 2019, due to DOH-NCMH's decision to withdraw its support.— #SaveHopelinePH (@HopelinePH) June 25, 2019
In September 2016, the department launched the crisis support hotline for depression and suicide prevention in partnership with the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF).
DOH said in a statement that Hopeline has been a reliable partner in providing hope and support for Filipinos with mental health issues and is thankful to the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation for the partnership.
"The DOH 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 (NCMH) upon the signing of the Mental Health Act of 2019," the statement read.
In any case, DOH emphasized that it "will continue to support the advocacy of NGF to uphold the rights of all Filipinos living with mental health conditions."
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Mental Health Law in an effort to provide affordable and accessible mental health services for Filipinos.
The department also mentioned that those who are in need of help may access the new National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) crisis hotline launched a month ago to assist those with mental health concerns. (READ: National Center for Mental Health crisis hotline now open)
Hopeline to continue
Meanwhile, Hopeline responders took the initiative to look for donations through an online fund crowdsourcing platform that will be used to help them sustain their hotline and other services for mental health wellness and awareness.
Soon after, Hopeline announced on Twitter that its operation will continue following the support extended by Globe, NGF, corporations and private individuals.
For clarification, HopelinePH will continue its operation despite the withdrawal of support from DOH-NCMH. We are beyond grateful for the continuous support of @enjoyGLOBE, corporations, and individual donors and of course, Natasha Goulbourn Foundation.— #SaveHopelinePH (@HopelinePH) June 26, 2019
According to experts, the number of suicide cases and students with mental illnesses has risen drastically in the last two years. They also noted there's at least one suicide referral made each day.
The Hopeline Project's hotlines can be reached at (02) 804-HOPE (4673), 0917 558 HOPE (4673) and 2919 (toll-free number for all Globe and TM subscribers). – with a report from Elijah Allen Macaspac/Rappler.com