BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 10284 otherwise known as the State Universities and Colleges Mental Health Service Act on second reading via voice voting on Tuesday, 9 November.
The bill authored by Bacolod Lone District Cong. Greg Gasataya mandates the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to require all SUCs to establish a mental health office in all campuses.
Gasataya says that he filed the bill to supplement Republic Act No. 11036 otherwise known as the Mental Health Act believing 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 improve intellectual, developmental, and emotional development.
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 am thankful to my colleagues in the House of Representatives for believing in the intent of the bill to make mental healthcare more accessible to the public. I hope that this proposal can help save lives and eliminate another barrier to learning for our children,” Gasataya said.