Mind­ful­ness

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

There will be a lot to be learned from the Bri­tish ex­per­i­ment once it goes full swing. The Philip­pines just passed Repub­lic Act 11036 or the Men­tal Health Care Act that, in its own words, will “set the path for the govern­ment’s pol­icy in in­te­grat­ing men­tal health care in the coun­try’s pub­lic health care sys­tem.”

The law comes amid a De­part­ment of Health (DOH) re­port that one in ev­ery five Filipino adults is un­der­go­ing var­i­ous forms of men­tal ill­ness. In 2012, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­ported 2,588 cases of Filipinos who died of sui­cide, a stag­ger­ing fig­ure that means seven per­sons per day. Ev­ery now and then, some young­ster would det­o­nate an­other vi­ral case in so­cial me­dia with a sui­cide act, send­ing the pub­lic and pol­icy mak­ers on a knee-jerk re­flex to dis­cuss men­tal health. A re­port re­vealed that Filipino chil­dren, as young as 10 years old, com­mit­ted sui­cide out of de­pres­sion. Around 16 per­cent of the cases are from ages 10-19. One in 10, among the ages 15-27, con­sid­ered sui­cide as an op­tion. Per­haps, we can level up shock and sym­pa­thy with more sci­ence and method.

One of the man­dates of RA 11036 is the “pro­mo­tion of health ed­u­ca­tion in schools and work­places.” Play­ing cen­ter in this ball­game is the DOH, but the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion is ap­par­ently key in bring­ing the mes­sage home. Last year, a house bill urged the DepEd to in­clude men­tal health in its cur­ricu­lum. In Oc­to­ber last year, the DepEd re­sponded with its first ever fo­rum on men­tal health, gath­er­ing health work­ers, teach­ers, guid­ance coun­selors from dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.

To­day’s young­sters en­counter a whole new kind of chal­lenges and pres­sures that the older gen­er­a­tion might not fully un­der­stand. The Bri­tish trial al­lows par­tic­i­pat­ing schools to try dif­fer­ent ap­proaches around the theme of “mind­ful­ness.” Our very own DepEd may plot a sim­i­lar ex­per­i­ment.— Sun­nex

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