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Solon urges interagency cooperation in response to an increase in suicide cases.

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On Monday, the head of the House Committee on the Welfare of Children encouraged the administration to improve interagency coordination, monitoring, and follow-up on all incidents of bullying, violence, and suicide involving students and instructors.

The National Mental Health Act’s implementation issues and the rising number of student suicides and attempted suicides were also brought up at the hearing by BHW Party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co.

“There were noticeable tensions present during the hearing about young suicides in the Philippines due to the lamentations, despair, alarm, and frustration. The National Mental Health Act and other legislation, which, if they had been applied, may have averted many suicides, are not being implemented, and we are dissatisfied with this, stated Co.

According to Co, all the implementing agencies must work in “synergy” by establishing a single, specific program that can be effectively implemented even at the most basic levels.

According to Co, who cited current data from the Department of Education (DepEd), 404 pupils out of the 28 million total students committed suicide in 2021, while 2,147 more made an attempt.

Co presented ideas for paying licensed guidance counselors higher pay grades when they work for the DepEd.

She also provided DepEd data demonstrating that 775,962 students, or 2.85 percent of the population, sought help from a guidance counselor.

Only 16,557 guidance officers and 2,093 registered guidance counselors were employed by the 60,157 schools.

Guidance counselors are needed in the classrooms, not in the division and regional offices.

Co suggested that the Department of Health may teach barangay health personnel in mental health.

She noted that this would be an easy method to increase the number of people who can serve as first responders in neighborhoods and schools.

She stated that she will introduce a law to improve school health that would address important topics like nutrition and mental health, while also making it clear that the bill wouldn’t burden teachers with extra work in the areas of guidance and counseling.

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