/ 6 February 2023

TO BOOST mental health services in schools, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go filed Senate Bill 1786 which will mandate the establishment of Mental Health Offices in campuses.

The senator lamented that mental health disorders are often overlooked with many failing to recognize their signs and symptoms.

“One’s mental health has always been my priority, especially when the Covid19 hit the country. Palagi itong iniiwasan na pag-usapan dahil kadalasan nahihiya sila sa posibilidad na ma-discriminate sila ng tao. But mental health is an important part of your well-being kaya dapat huwag natin ito pabayaan,” the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography said.

The measure aims to strengthen the mental health services of public higher education institutions by hiring, deploying and training additional HEI-based mental health service personnel.

Campus hotlines with dedicated and trained guidance counselors will be set up to provide assistance to the whole HEI community, especially the students.

Special attention shall be given to those identified to have mental health problems or conditions, especially those at risk of committing suicide.

Educational institutions will also raise awareness on mental health issues, identify and provide support and services for individuals at risk, and facility access by developing necessary mechanisms to further empower educational institutions in promoting the mental health and wellness of students, faculty, teaching and non-teaching staff, and other personnel.

The awareness campaign shall give special emphasis to the issues of suicide prevention, stress handling, mental health and nutrition, and guidance and counseling.

A study conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute showed that 7.5 percent of Filipino youth had attempted suicide in 2021.

It said that between 2013 and 2021, suicide ideation among the Filipino youth more than doubled. Suicide ideation is a term used by the World Health Organization to describe thoughts, wishes, preoccupations and contemplations on death and suicide.

“Kaya hindi po dapat natin ito palagpasin. Mental health is very important to address just like any other health concern,” Go said.