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Mental Health Services in schools pushed
In a bid to strengthen the promotion and delivery of mental health services in basic education as schools shift back to face-to-face attendance, Pasig City District Representative Roman T. Romulo and ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Representative Ray Florence Reyes are pushing for the passage of “Basic Education Mental Health and Well-Being Promotion Act” in the Lower House.
House Bill No. 929, primarily authored by Rep. Romulo and co-authored by Rep. Reyes, directs the Department of Education (DepEd) to recruit, train, and hire additional mental health professionals in all public schools and adequately address various mental, emotional, and developmental needs of students, teachers and school personnel.
“The challenges the pandemic has brought in our education system has greatly impacted their mental states.
Our children spend almost half of their lifetime at school, so it is our duty to make our school’s a safe place, not just for our kids, but also for teachers who guide them every day,” Rep. Reyes stated.
The measure likewise proposes the establishment of a Mental Health and Well-being Office in all schools division offices and schools to cater to the needs of employees and learners. The office will then be headed by a qualified Mental Health Professional with a position of Guidance Services Specialist V.
“It will not be easy to employ guidance counselors and mental health professionals in a short time span, but with the aid of this bill, we look forward to meeting the proper ratio within five years,” Rep. Reyes said.
Salaries will also be increased for all entry level Mental Health Professionals which will not be lower than Salary Grade 16, and Salary Grade 11 for Guidance Associates and Psychometricians.
They will enjoy benefits equivalent of those for Public Health Workers. Once enacted, DepEd together with a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee (JCOC), will monitor and oversee the implementation of the law.