Educators call for salary increase, health benefits amid ‘National Mental Health Week’

October 10, 2022 - 6:24 PM
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A teacher sprays alcohol on the hands of students for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the first day of in-person classes at a public school in San Juan City, Philippines, August 22, 2022. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

The Department of Education launched a profile picture frame on Facebook in line with the National Mental Health Week.

The launch also came amid the commemoration of “World Mental Health Day” on October 10.

Featuring the DepEd logo, it declares the user as a “mentally healthy” person through the hashtag #MentallyHealthyDepEd.

Some Filipinos, however, told the agency that their mental health care required more than just a profile frame.

Aside from the frame, DepEd also encouraged the public to pledge their support for this initiative by using a personalized version of the following caption:

“I, (name), (position) of (office/school), commit to help promote mental health and well-being in the Department of Education by _____.”

The link to use the frame can be accessed via this link National Mental Health Week 2022 | Twibbonize.

“This National Mental Health Week, we continue to [work for] hand in hand, heart to heart, in building a Department of Education in which mental health is valued, promoted, and protected; where everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health and to exercise their human rights; and where everyone can access the mental health care they need,” DepEd said.

“Together, let us continue to build a #MentallyHealthyDepEd,” it added.

The post garnered 5,400 reactions, 1,000 comments and 1,500 shares on the platform so far.

Of the reactions, 2,300 were likes, 1,700 were laugh reactions, and 1,200 were heart reactions.

Despite the good intention behind this initiative, several Filipinos thumbed it down.

They called on DepEd to do more than just a personalized profile border on promoting teachers’ mental health.

“Sana totoong nachecheck ng DepEd ang mental health ng mga guro. Using this frame is not an assurance na mentally healthy ang isang guro,” a Facebook user said.

“I just hope this mental health campaign by DepEd [penetrates] beyond twibbons [because] nakakangarag sa field sa true lang,” another online user commented.

Other educators also called for salary increases and health benefits to support their mental health.

“I hope DepEd will not only focus on the mental health of students but most especially teachers din po sana. Because they are also humans needing mental and emotional support,” one Facebook user said.

“Protect our mental health by giving enough health benefits and raising our salary to properly live with the fast-raising inflation rate it insanely [ruins] out [the budget],” another user commented.

“I will be mentally healthy if [my salary] will be increased,” another online user said.

National Mental Health Week is celebrated every second week of October by virtue of Proclamation No. 452. It was signed by former President Fidel Ramos on Aug. 25, 1994.

World Mental Health Day, meanwhile, is celebrated every October 10 to help raise awareness on the importance of mental health in the world.

The World Health Organization said the commemoration of the week this year could be an opportunity for stakeholders to put mental health at the forefront amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whilst the pandemic has, and continues to, take its toll on our mental health, the ability to reconnect through World Mental Health Day 2022 will provide us with an opportunity to re-kindle our efforts to protect and improve mental health,” WHO said.