Bam: Support for troubled youth to curb suicide and drug use

A senator wants to create a mental health program for the youth to reduce the rate of suicide attempts and drug use among young Filipinos.

“We should provide troubled youth with professional support and a place of refuge so they don’t resort to drugs or even suicide,” Sen. Bam Aquino said in Senate Bill No. 657 or the Adolescents and Youth Mental Health Program Act.

In a fast urbanizing nation, Sen. Bam said the youth find themselves facing increasing amounts of pressure while being exposed to negative influences.

According to latest report by the Dangerous Drugs Board in 2015, around 49 percent of first-time drug users belong to the age group of 15-19 years old.

The World Health Organization also found that in 2011, 16 percent of Filipino students aged 13 to 15 had contemplated suicide, while 13 percent had attempted suicide.

The bill proposes the creation of a Mental Health Program for the youth aged 15 to 30 years old, to be implemented by the Department of Health, in conjunction with various other government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

 If enacted into law, every public or private educational institution must employ at least one qualified guidance counselor who is authorized as a mental health practitioner to provide support and advice to students.

“We must ensure that the next generation of Filipinos are mentally resilient and don’t fall prey to drug use,” the senator stressed.

The WHO observes every October 10 as the World Mental Health Day.


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