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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, September 14, 2018
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Mental health for the youth

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A study on the prevalence of suicide attempts among Filipino youth showed that roughly one in 10 of them aged 15-27 has considered suicide an option. Another report revealed that Filipino kids as young as 10 years have committed suicide because of depression, and that 16 percent of the total suicide cases recorded are from the youth, teenagers aged 10-19.

The growing numbers of highly sensitive youth who commit suicide, both nationwide and worldwide, can be nipped in the bud through House Bill 7858 which calls for the inclusion of programs dealing with mental health that should be included in the Department of Education’s curriculum.

HB 7858 intends to establish Youth Health Centers nationwide to address the stigma of mental health and identify depression, includes “life education and peer counseling programs” to foster positive mental health among elementary pupils and high school students.

Author Rep. L-Ray Villafuerte of Camarines Sur called on the DepEd to “institutionalize” the Youth Suicide Prevention program to ensure “that the mental health needs of our youth are taken care of.” According to the lawmaker, implementing a “peer counseling program” in schools will encourage positive mental health for students and thus prevent suicides.

The growing number of youth dealing with issues related to mental health is a problem that won’t go away unless parents, schools, or government can step in and provide guidance and counseling whenever needed. As primary caregivers, parents are always the first line of defense but considering the amount of time children spend in schools, programs that encourage awareness and provide counseling can go a long way in resolving issues and erasing the stigma related to mental illness.

Suicide is listed as the second highest cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 29. A House Bill that requires the DepEd to institutionalize a youth suicide prevention program and include mental health programs in the curriculum can help address that problem if it is passed, properly funded and implemented well.

Many lives can be saved if our youth can be taught from an early age of positive mental health, to erase the stigma that has hounded those who suffer from mental illnesses, to be sensitive towards others who need help and be assured that they can seek help when they starting thinking of resorting to drastic measures.*


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