PASIG CITY, November 4, 2022 – The Department of Education (DepEd) bolstered its personnel’s understanding and knowledge of mental health and its significance in the education sector through the Virtual Learning Session on Mental Health.

Spearheaded by the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRMSS), in close partnership with the Bureau of Human Resources and Organizational Development – Employee Welfare Division (BHROD-EWD) and the Bureau of Learner Support Services – School Health Division (BLSS-SHD), the virtual learning session featured discussion from mental health experts from the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA), and MentalHealthPH.

“We are hoping that this learning session can help us. It is just the start and we are hoping that in each office, you can champion wellness,” DRRMS Director Ronilda Co said.

She added, “Alagaan ang ating mga sarili kasi tayo ay mahalaga. We hope you are convinced of that, and we hope that you feel it in your heart how important and significant you are regardless of whether people tell you or not.”

Prof. Erickson A. Amion, a registered psychologist, underscored strategies in incorporating mental health education in schools, namely: (1) opening conversations about mental health to help decrease stigma; (2) providing appropriate training for teachers and staff to identify and respond to signs of mental health issues; (3) integrating mental health into academics and classwork; (4) providing helpful tools for students; and (5) supporting educators’ mental health needs.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dinah Palmera P. Nadera of the PPA said “you cannot separate academic growth from the discussions on mental health.”

According to the psychiatrist, some ways to support mental health, psychosocial well-being, and academic growth include: (1) providing opportunities to build resiliency; (2) strengthening mental health literacy; (3) incorporating mental health and psychosocial support in times of disaster; and (4) enabling and optimizing learning for children with special needs.

The learning session was conducted just in time for the celebration of the 30th National Children’s Month, which aims to focus on learners’ mental health and well-being.

The month-long celebration also intends to meet and improve the mental health needs of Filipino children since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic through activities that respond to the categories of children’s rights to survival, development, participation, and protection.