School-based mental health program sought

May 17, 2023 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 236 views

TWO Senators urged the need to create a school-based “Mental Health Program” for students suffering from mental health problems.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva expressed hopes that the “stigma and discrimination” surrounding mental health will finally be removed by establishing policies such as school-based mental health programs.

Villanueva was co-sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) No. 2200 under Committee Report No. 66, institutionalizing the school-based mental health program to promote and ensure the mental health and emotional well-being of all learners in public and private basic education schools.

“It is our fervent hope that with the passage of this particular measure, the youth will finally have enough support system that will help foster their mental, emotional, and overall health and well-being,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva said that during the committee hearing on the measure, it was revealed that 404 students in various parts of the country committed suicide, and 2,147 others attempted to take their lives during the school year 2021-2022.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, the chairperson of the Committee on Basic Education, sponsored a measure seeking to promote mental health and well-being in basic education by institutionalizing a school-based mental health program.

Gatchalian lamented that over 400 learners committed suicide in a single school year, saying, “one life lost is one too many.”

By implementing this proposed measure, Gatchalian said there will be increased awareness among young people that seeking help from mental health specialists and associates is always an available option within their learning community.

“We cannot continue to allow our learners to suffer in silence. It is now up to us to create a world where mental health is valued, where those who are struggling are not judged or dismissed by embraced with understanding and care,” Gatchalian stressed.