BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
With a 201-0-0 vote, the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 10284 or the State Universities and Colleges Mental Health Service Act on third and final reading Wednesday.
The bill authored by Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya mandates the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to require all SUCs to establish a mental health office in all campuses.
Gasataya said that he filed the bill in supplement of Republic Act No. 11036 otherwise known as the Mental Health Act under the belief that an aggressive national mental health policy focused on the youth who are under a lot of pressure considering the effects of the pandemic on the education sector will help curb incidences of self-harm and assist in holistic development through mental healthcare that is responsive to the mental, developmental, and emotional needs of students.
The mental health offices in SUCs under the proposed legislation shall set up campus hotlines with dedicated and trained guidance counselors to provide assistance to the whole SUC community, especially the students and initiate and sustain heightened campaign to raise the collective consciousness about mental health focusing on suicide prevention, stress handling, mental health and nutrition, and guidance and counseling.
The bill further requires that each mental health office shall be attended by, train, and deploy mental health professionals who shall serve as the mental health service personnel of the SUCs.
“I thank my colleagues in the House of Representatives for believing in the intent of the bill to improve access to mental health services. I hope that this proposal can help save lives and eliminate another barrier to learning for our children,” Gasataya said.*