The Mental Health Law aims to provide affordable and accessible mental health services for Filipinos. The Department of Health (DOH) is now in the process of implementing its rules and regulations.
There have been recent suicide cases among students involving reasons such as inability to pay one’s tuition, failure to graduate on time, poor grades and bullying. Without a doubt, mental health issues must be addressed, particularly among Filipino youth.
The signing of the law is a significant step in fighting the stigma of mental illness, in a society where young people who harm themselves have been labelled as “emo” or “papansin” by their peers. The law will pave the way for proper mental health education and services in schools. As a result, students and teachers will finally treat mental illness as a public health concern, not a condition to be ashamed of.
Here’s how the newly implemented law will benefit students. This may also serve as a guide for parents on how schools can help them care for their child’s mental health:
Mental Health Programs and Policies
Teachers, guidance counselors, and school personnel will be trained to identify and support people suffering from mental health issues.
What’s more, the law will challenge schools to review their regulations especially concerning grading systems, tuition payment and graduation. This will ensure that students still enjoy their academic life despite the stress around them.
Accessible Mental Health Services
Most people can’t tell the difference between depression and stress. With accessible services within schools, students will be able to better understand their mental health conditions and get the healthcare they need.
Mental Health Education
All education levels will be including age-appropriate topics about mental health into the curriculum. Moreover, psychiatry and neurology will be required subjects in all medical and related health courses in college up to the postgraduate level.
There will be more awareness that people dealing with depression and anxiety need care and proper medical attention like any other patient.
The law will prompt teachers to understand the situation of their students beyond their school performances. Similarly, students will feel greater empathy towards their friends, family, and teachers. Students with mental health problems will find themselves in a supportive environment for them to grow. More so, it will be less difficult for them to speak up about their condition now that it will be treated publicly.
Medical experts have yet to fully understand the symptoms of mental illness. Despite that, Filipinos are now more capable of protecting one another from mental health stigma and discrimination. The Mental Health Law pushes them forward and sets a brighter path for people afflicted with mental health problems.
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