Kabataan solon expresses alarm over reports of self-harm among students
MANILA, Philippines — The government must provide accessible mental health services for people, especially with recent reports of students harming themselves, Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel said on Wednesday.
In a statement, Manuel claimed that the recent reports of students committing suicide should not be considered isolated, as the education crisis might be triggering or worsening a mental health crisis among students.
The Kabataan lawmaker was referring to the recent incident in Mandaue City where a 19-year-old male nursing student was said to have committed suicide, and reports of a senior high student in Motiong, Samar taking his own life too.
READ: Mandaue police probe death of nursing student inside school campus
“Hindi ito isolated cases at lalong hindi ito guni-guni lang. Malinaw na ang di pa nareresolbang krisis sa edukasyon ay nagpalala ng krisis sa mental health. Huwag sana nating bigyan ng labis at bulag na papuri ang paghihirap ng mga kabataang nagsusumikap na mag-aral nang mabuti,” he said.
(These are not isolated cases and are not a figment of the imagination. The unresolved education crisis has worsened the mental health crisis. Let us not give excessive and blind glorification to the struggles of the Filipino youth who try to study well.)
“Dapat magkaroon ng abot-kamay at abot-kayang mental health services para sa lahat ng maaaring mangailangan ng higit pa sa mga hotline. Mainam na ma-review din ang pagpapatupad sa Mental Health Act at matiyak ang sapat na pondo para rito sa pambansang badyet,” he added.
(There should be an accessible and affordable mental health services platform for all who might need assistance way beyond the hotlines. It would also be good to review the implementation of the Mental Health Act to ensure sufficient funding for this in the national budget.)
According to Manuel, part of the safe return to schools, primarily face-to-face classes, is safeguarding students from physiological and mental issues.
“Bahagi dapat ng ligtas na balik-eskwela ang kaligtasan sa sakit, pisikal man o mental. Kasama rito ang pagtugon sa mga problema sa kabuhayan tulad ng ayuda, trabaho at iba pa,” he noted.
(Part of the safe return to classes is protection from physical or mental ailments. This includes responding to livelihood problems like providing social aid, jobs, and other factors.)
Mental health issues have been a concern for the country even before face-to-face classes resumed. For example, government agencies noticed a spike in calls about suicide-related problems when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Philippines and required stay-at-home policies.
READ: NCMH reports spike in suicide-related calls amid COVID-19 pandemic
Mental health issues have not spared students: as students were left with no choice but to study through distance learning methods, there have been several reports of young Filipinos engaging in self-harm due to frustration over online classes and other educational aspects.
READ: Mental health of students, teachers a ‘big challenge’ amid pandemic – DepEd chief
A recent study from the University of the Philippines showed that one in five young Filipinos have considered taking their lives.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Center for Mental Health hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).
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