Pass student mental health bill swiftly — CHR
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday called for swift passage of a Senate bill that promotes mental health services in schools.
The proposal is Senate Bill (SB) No. 379 or the Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act, filed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian in July 2022.
“The [CHR] urges for the swift passage of Senate Bill No. 379,” said the Commission in a statement.
The CHR cited data from the Department of Education which found that 404 students had committed suicide in 2021.
“CHR reiterates its calls to institutionalize more holistic and cohesive mental health programs in response to the increasing alarming mental health-related incidents among the youth,” said the agency.
According to the CHR, the bill would further strengthen Republic Act No. 11036 or the Mental Health Act.
“In particular, by appropriating funds, creating plantilla positions for guidance associates, and increasing the salaries of guidance counselors, children will gain more access to quality and appropriate services that address various mental health concerns,” said the CHR.
The CHR said that it is the right of Filipino children to have a safe environment and that it is ready to assist academic and government institutions in helping improve practices protecting children’s rights.
“The Commission asserts that no child should be subjected to pressure and harsh treatment that would drive them to isolation, self-harm, or suicide. All children have the right to spend their learning years in a safe, nurturing space that promotes their dignity and mental well-being,” said the CHR.