Press Release
September 11, 2023

MANIFESTATION OF SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS ON THE APPROVAL OF THE SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM
September 11, 2023

Salamat kaayo, Mr. President, I voted YES to the proposed "Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act," and I thank the principal author and sponsor, the good gentleman from Valenzuela, to allow this representation to be made co-author and co-sponsor.

Buo po ang paniniwala ko na itong panukalang batas na pinasa natin for third reading ngayon would complement and further strengthen our existing Mental Health Act o RA 11036 na atin ding isinabatas five years ago.

Malaking tulong para sa ating mga mag-aaral, at kanilang mga mahal sa buhay, ang pagkakaroon ng accessible school-based mental health services upang tugunan ang iba't-ibang mental health problems mula academic stress hanggang self-injurious and harmful behaviors, gaya ng insidente ng suicide.

Kung seryoso ang pamunuan ng Department of Education na siguraduhin ang safety and security of our schools and learners, there is no doubt, Mr. President, that accelerating the mainstreaming of a school-based mental health program would contribute not only to ensuring the physical but also the psychological safety of our learning environment.

Ito dapat ang prayoridad na pag-ukulan ng pondo hindi ang mga counter-productive at redundant na surveillance activities sa mga paaralan.

Lalo't ang mga surveillance activities, whether done by civilian or uniformed personnels, ay nakakapagpalala lalo ng psychological distress sa ating mga mag-aaral at kaguruan.

And at the same time, nagtitiwala po ako, Mr. President, na sa kabila ng paghahangad nating bigyang buhay ang mga school-based mental health programs sa ating mga paaralan, hindi makakalimot ang ating mga education authorities --mula DepEd hanggang sa mga mababang paaralan -- na patuloy na kilalanin, galangin at itaguyod ang mga karapatan ng ating mga service users, na pawang menor de edad, their family members and carers, at maging ang mga itatalagang mental health professionals.

I do hope that our education authorities will be up to the challenge of institutionalizing and sustaining mental health programs in our schools.

Maraming salamat, Mr. President.

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