Helpline system to respond to needs of learners, teachers

    Noting the growing number of cases of children exhibiting aggressive or antisocial behavior, the Department of Education (DepEd) has launched a helpline system for students and teachers who may be experiencing difficulties due to the disruptions in the education system brought about by the imposition of health restrictions and safety policies prompted by the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    METRO MANILA, Philippines — In a statement, DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service director Ronilda Co explained that in line with mental health issues now being faced by children, particularly learners and their teachers, the helpline system has been launched with various initiatives, including the boosting of the system to properly respond to this concern.

    “When children show aggressiveness and antisocial behavior, parents may think they are just being rude but this characteristic may be an indicator that their kids are struggling with issues that affect their mental health in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Co pointed out.

    “Sometimes the parents would perceive it as disrespectful and even scold them so it would be important if we take a pause because this could be a manifestation that the children are going through difficult times,” she added.

    According to the DepEd official, other indicators that learners are having mental health problems are isolating one’s self, experiencing nightmares, having trouble sleeping or concentrating, and irritability.

    “There may also be physical manifestations such as hyperventilation and other breathing problems. Co cited other signs to watch out for such as confusion and sadness that, if unaddressed, could worsen and lead to suicidal thoughts. We need to look out for these manifestations so that we know when to help and talk to the kids,” she continued.

    This is why, Co said, the helpline system has been launched because through it, learners, teachers and even the general public can get in touch with various health organizations all over the country that can help them deal with mental and psychological distress.

    “Responders manning the hotlines can talk to the learners and assess if they need a referral to mental health experts like psychologists or psychiatrists,” she disclosed even as she further stated that DepEd personnel from the regional offices will also be able to visit affected students at home to find out more about their situation to better understand it. (TRC/The MiNT)

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