September 23, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) is collaborating with Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (SEAMEO TROPMED) to elevate awareness of learners and personnel on mental health programs and services.

In a webinar on School Mental Health Initiatives and Ceremonial Observance of the World Suicide Prevention Day during the One Health Week, DepEd will conduct pilot testing of the School Mental Health Model with the support of SEAMEO TROPMED.

The model will feature developed modules and a screening tool to explain mental health issues and identify and give psychosocial support and services for individuals at risk.

“The challenge before us is not only to set out the map for our children but also to help them navigate the crucial years of their development. That is why I believe the School Mental Health Program should be put in place to ensure the mental health promotion and effective linkage to mental services for our learners and personnel,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

In this line, the Department is planning to create a policy for the School Mental Health Program that covers the comprehensive mental health directions of DepEd on promotion, identification of learners at-risk, provision of basic services, referral system for treatments, and contextualized School Mental Health Model in the new normal setting.

Moreover, DepEd will also ensure availability of mental health professionals, especially guidance counselors, in schools and offices.

As one of the six flagship programs under the OK (Oplan Kalusugan) sa DepEd, the School Mental Health Program of the Bureau of Learner Support Services – School Health Division (BLSS-SHD) aims to ensure mental health promotion and effective linkage to mental health services for learners and our school personnel.

Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua noted that the Department recognizes the critical issue of mental health, “There is no health without mental health, paulit-ulit itong binibigyang-diin ng mga mental health advocates sa buong mundo bilang pagkilala na ang mental health ay kritikal na bahagi ng kabuuang pangkalusugan ng isang tao. Kinikilala din natin sa DepEd ang katotohanang iyan.”

“Let us commit to going back to our workstations, our schools, with a clear vision and earnest desire to find our place in helping fulfill DepEd’s mandate under the mental health law. On a more personal level, let us commit to being advocates and champions of mental health even in the little things that we do, in our speech, in our relationships, and in our daily lives,” Usec. Pascua ended.