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Strengthen mental health initiatives for kids: solon

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After a study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) revealed that 1.5 million youth attempted suicide in 2021, health authorities must focus on boosting psychological assistance.

According to Senator Christopher Go on Friday, the study’s findings might be yet another consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, which compelled young people to stay at home and take their studies online.

A comparable survey conducted in 2013 revealed that 574,000 young Filipinos attempted suicide.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 33.4 million people, or 30.7% of the roughly 110 million people in the country, were under the age of 15 in 2020.

Alhamdulillah, ‘Alam n’yo, umpisa pa lang ng pandemya, marami may i-ulat na nakaka-experience ng depression. There may not be any mandatory quarantine. ‘Yung mga OFW [oversea Filipino workers], ‘yung iba pagdating mula sa ibang bansa, ‘yung mga nahihirapan mag-adjust. Marami rin nawalan ng kabuhayan (You know, many people were said to have experienced despair towards the beginning of the pandemic. Some individuals struggled with protracted quarantines. The OFWs, who also immigrated from other countries, had difficulty adjusting. In addition, many of them have lost their jobs, he added in a statement.

Go claimed that Republic Act 11036, also known as the Mental Health Act, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed in 2018, gives the nation the means to solve the problem.

According to the law, “timely, reasonably priced, high quality, and culturally appropriate mental health care is made available to the public; mental health services are free from coercion and accountable to the service users, and persons affected by mental health conditions can exercise the full range of human rights and participate fully in society and at work free from stigmatization and discrimination.”

Go, the chair of the Committee on Health and Demography, urged the industry to ensure that the government’s mental health programs received adequate attention.

“I’m asking for more money to support our mental health program. Hinihikayat ko po ang magkaroon ng sapat na pondo. I am currently nakatutok. I am on this. Handa po akong tumulong sa ating mga kababayan na mabigyan po ng importansya. I’m ready to assist in making sure that our folks have adequate funding for these (mga mental health services.

The UPPI survey also showed a rise in “suicide ideation” among Filipino youth between 2013 and 2021.

The World Health Organization defines suicidal ideation as “thoughts, wishes, preoccupations, and contemplations with death and suicide,” or merely thinking about dying but not necessarily taking one’s own life.

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