Passage of bills to improve mental health law seen this year
MANILA, Philippines — Congress is on track to pass this year the bills that seek to improve Republic Act No. 11036, or the mental health law, by strengthening the promotion of mental health services in schools, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said on Saturday.
In a radio interview, Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on basic education, said he was optimistic that the quick passage of Senate Bill No. 379 and its counterpart measure, House Bill No. 6574, will play a crucial role in preventing more deaths among students due to mental health issues.
“We are pushing this as priority legislation and I believe that our fellow lawmakers saw the importance of this law to save our youth,” he said, as he expressed concern over findings that 404 minors committed suicide the previous school year.
Gatchalian led Tuesday’s hearing on SB 379, which revealed the “saddening and alarming” data on the state of mental health among Filipino youth.
“Four hundred four suicides in a year is too large a number; about 21,000 called the hotline due to attempted suicide, while almost 700,000 calls were recorded from persons reporting various types of mental health illness such as depression,” he said.
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