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  The National Women’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation  1 CHAPTER 1: Introduction 1.1   BACKGROUND AND NATURE OF THE PROJECT Rehabilitation, according to the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, is meant to restore some or all of the patient's physical, sensory, and mental capabilities that were lost due to injury, illness, or disease (Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2008) and includes assistance for the patient to make up for medically irreversible deficits. In particular,  psychiatric rehabilitation focuses on the restoration of community functioning and well- being of an individual. Also known as psychosocial rehabilitation, the collaborative,  person-directed, and individualized services are meant to assist patients in the performance of self-directed, self-satisfying functional life tasks (Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing, 2012). This will enable individuals to develop the necessary skills needed to increase their capacity to be successful and fulfilled in their respective living, learning, working, and social environments. These psychiatric care services are available in various settings, which include the following: clinical and office practices, skilled-care nursing homes, hospitals, some health maintenance organizations, halfway houses, and home visits. The appropriate type of service and therapist is prescribed and provided by the medical team of the patient. In the Philippines, psychiatric care is offered by both private and public groups. However, access to these services remains uneven throughout the country as most facilities are situated in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other major cities in the country.  The National Women’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation  2 1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM According to clinical psychologists, the common misconceptions about mental illness are that it is very rare, permanent, and incurable; that people who are mentally ill are potentially dangerous to the public, as they can be unreasonably violent; and that seeking the help of psychologist or psychiatrist is wrong and can cause one to be labeled as being incurably psychotic. Recent studies suggest that mental illness is far more common than what many may think. In the National Capital Region alone, the overall  prevalence of mental health problems was thirty-two percent (32%) (Department of Health, July 2012). Similar to diabetes, some lifelong mental illnesses do require long-term treatment. These people who have such disabilities often need to live with their situation and cope with it. Many of them are able to live relatively normal lives with little special assistance from others. Nevertheless, a bigger number of people actually suffer from transient mental illnesses, such as clinical depression. Although there is no known treatment for a few mental illnesses listed in the diagnostic manuals, more than 90% of these illnesses are either curable or have some sort of treatment that manage the major symptoms. Unknown to many, research has shown that people who suffer mental illnesses are more likely to hurt themselves or be hurt by others. The ones we often hear of and see in the news are exceptional cases. Seeking treatment does not make one mentally ill. It merely provides the help that one needs (Department of Health, July 2012). In the Philippines and all over the world, women are seen as the lesser sex   and are more likely to develop a mental illness than men . Women are twice as likely to  The National Women’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation  3  become diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders than men, and are nearly thrice as likely to attempt suicide. Furthermore, 85-95% of patients with eating disorders are female. Many researches attempt to explain the gender difference in the prevalence of common mental disorders as the fault of biology. The emphasis on physiological or hormonal differences, especially the woman's reproductive functions, are presented to have a correlation to high cases of anxiety among women. The male reproductive functions, however, have not received the same scrutiny in similar studies. This makes the biological differences between men and women an unreliable basis for the differences of mental illnesses between them. Instead, it appears that these illnesses may stem from the present social structure that is hierarchal and patriarchal in nature. Gender bias, the pervasive effect of gender role socialization, manifests as women's subordination, marginalization, and multiple burdens such as the abuse stated above. Women become susceptible to specific mental health risks because of these differential powers men and women have in controlling their lives and in coping with the risks that influence the process of mental health development. 1  Fortunately, there are   organizations that advocate mental health  and seek to help patients regain mental and physical functionality through treatment. At the forefront are government institutions such as the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH). A Mental Health Act is currently under consideration in the Philippine government, spearheaded by Senator Risa Hontiveros. On top of this, the 1  Reyes, B. & Reyes, M. (2004).  Engendering Philippine mental health . University of the Philippines Diliman.  The National Women’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation  4 Magna Carta for Women has been established, with its localization prompting Gender and Development (GAD) ordinances throughout the Philippines to require crisis centers, rehabilitation facilities, and help desks in every local community, municipality, and city. Several non-government organizations (NGOs) have also been active in fighting for this cause, such as Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) and Natasha Gouldbourn Foundation (NGF). Despite the cooperation of these private and public groups, the negative stigma  remains for the mentally ill. Their status as mentally ill alienates them through discriminating behavior, making it difficult for them to recover and reintegrate with society. Until society’s view on mental illness improves, complete recuperation cannot be perfected. One particular solution can be the deinstitutionalization  of facilities catering to these mentally ill patients. When illness and rehabilitation are no longer equated to asylums and mental incapacitation, victims will be encouraged to seek help and society can view it as an illness as remediable as the common cold: something that by no means necessary  justifies discriminatory behavior. The recuperation of these women, in the long run, empowers them as individuals and as members of society. A healthy, non-constricting environment encourages women to overcome adversity and regain purpose and fulfillment. This reclaiming of their power is a reminder to society that they are not the lesser sex; rather, that they are human beings equally worthy of respect. This shall be made possible through the guidance and service of the public sector, especially the aforementioned government organizations. Paired with the funding and  participation of NGOs and private corporations, these deinstitutionalized psychiatric
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