The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has wrought enormous problems not only to parents but also to students in terms of their emotional, behavioral and psychological concerns which are barriers to learning, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said.
However, the CHR said, the government has also been relentless in cropping up measures to address the problems. One of these measures is House Bill (HB) No. 0284 on the proposed State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) Mental Health Service Act, it said.
Aside from addressing the students’ mental health concerns, HB 0284 would also gear up faculty members and other non-teaching personnel in creating safe spaces conducive to learning.
“We thank the House of Representatives for the approval of this bill on its second reading, and we hope for its expedited approval to help students in higher education institutions (HEIs) cope better with the pressures brought about during this pandemic,” CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said on Monday, Nov. 15.
De Guia said the Department of Education (DepEd) has collaborated with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (SEAMEO TROPMED) for the pilot testing of a School Mental Health Model.
“The School Mental Health program will feature modules and a screening tool to explain mental health issues, and give psychosocial support and services to students as well as school personnel,” she said.
She pointed out that the programs will help ensure that students in the basic education will have better access to mental healthcare.
“At a time when numerous students are feeling the pressures of online schooling, the aforementioned actions are a timely response to ensuring a comprehensive set of solutions to the growing problems of student burnout in all levels of education,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, De Guia said the CHR has urged every school to also develop its own mental health policy for the mental well-being of students amidst the pandemic.