November 5, 2020 – In a bid to strengthen the provision of Mental Health and Psychological Support Services (MHPSS) initiatives for learners, parents, and DepEd personnel in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) virtually convened non-government organizations and other partners on Wednesday.

In the meeting, DepEd and partner organizations identified possible MHPSS areas of collaboration to further strengthen mental health initiatives for the ongoing school year.

Partner representatives provided an overview of their MHPSS initiatives and the areas where they can provide support, including the dissemination of MHPSS materials, setting-up of child-friendly spaces, provision of other platforms for airing broadcast materials, content development, and sharing of resources.

DepEd also laid out its plans for the remainder of the year, including broadcasting MHPSS every weekend for elementary and secondary learners, parents, and DepEd personnel; resuming Online MHPSS activities; and conducting an MHPSS Concert.

In addition, DepEd DRRMS also presented current response initiatives concerning the aftermath of Super Typhoon Rolly to provide partners an overview of the areas where they can support the Department’s response efforts.

“We have started to process funds for immediate clean-up and minor repair for affected schools, to be followed with the distribution of hygiene and teachers’ and learners’ kits. Our engineers and DRRM coordinators have begun conducting the detailed assessment of infrastructure and non-infrastructure damages to determine the funding requirement for the comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery of affected schools, learners, and personnel,” DRRMS Director Ronilda Co shared.

Representatives from Education Forum members and organizations such as ACCORD, Plan International, Cartwheel Foundation, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc., Save the Children Philippines, UNICEF Philippines, Unang Hakbang Foundation, Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association Inc. (PGCA), Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), UNILAB Foundation Inc., and the World Vision Development Foundation attended the said meeting.

Since May 2020, DepEd DRRMS has been collaborating with partner organizations to implement COVID-19 MHPSS initiatives. Daily issuance of Fostering Wellness Solidarity and Service, Letters of Gratitude and Hope disseminated to frontliners; development and provision of MHPSS Materials for Learners, Teachers, and Parents/Guardians/Caregivers; and weekly online programs held online through the DepEd Philippines Facebook Page and broadcasted on Cignal TV were some of the outputs of these partnerships.

Online Psychosocial Support sessions were also given to elementary and secondary learners, DepEd teaching and non-teaching personnel in collaboration with PAP, UFI, CCP, and Brahma Kumaris Philippines.

The provision of MHPSS initiatives by DepEd DRRMS has been in place since 2013. Since then, the MHPSS capacity building and actual provision to disaster and/or emergency affected learners and personnel has been an integral part of DepEd’s response interventions.

For more information on DepEd’s MHPSS initiatives and Typhoon Rolly response efforts, you may contact DRRMS phone numbers at 8635-3764 and 8637-4933.