Senate OKs school-based mental health program bill
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to promote mental health and well-being in basic education by institutionalizing a school-based mental health program.
Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2200 or the Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act, was approved with 22 affirmatives, zero negative votes, and zero abstentions in a plenary session.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the chamber’s committee on basic education, said the bill mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to establish and maintain care centers in every institution.=’
“Care Centers will be mandated to equip learners with skills and information for prevention, identification, and proper response and referral for their own and others’ mental health needs,” said Gatchalian, who also sponsored and authored the bill.
“To address the need for enough personnel running the School-Based Mental Health Program, the bill creates the new plantilla positions of Mental Health Associates I to V, and Mental Health Specialists I to V. The bill also seeks the conversion of existing plantilla positions of Guidance Counselors and Psychologists in the DepEd to Mental Health Specialists,” he added.
Meanwhile, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros, in her manifestation, stressed that this newly approved bill would further strengthen Republic Act No. 11036 or the Mental Health Act.