UP sectors push for intensified mental health programs

| Written by Arlyn VCD Palisoc Romualdo

Participants sign the commitment wall 鈥渢o help transform UP into a nurturing university鈥 during the UP System Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

UP President Angelo Jimenez says the conference is 鈥渁 dream come true鈥 for him. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

More resources, human and financial, are needed to strengthen UP鈥檚 mental health initiatives. This was the bottom-line of the recommendations presented by representatives of the University鈥檚 various sectors鈥攕tudents, faculty, staff, and mental health practitioners鈥攄uring the UP System Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference (MHWC) on October 11-12 in UP Los Ba帽os.

They pushed for the continuation of support programs that were started during the COVID-19 lockdowns and called for more intensified efforts across all UP campuses, benefitting all sectors of UP. These included, among others, the continuous training of mental health advocates, sustained financial support for consultations and medications, additional mental health professionals, mental health breaks for all, pedagogical review, and the institutionalization of mental health units, not just programs. All of these in accordance with Republic Act No. 11036 or the Mental Health Act enacted in 2018.

In his message, UP President Angelo Jimenez declared, 鈥淲hat is at stake is no less than the salvation of our community and our society.鈥 He revealed that the conduct of the conference was one of his first instructions as UP president to Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (Student Affairs) and Office of Student Development Services Director Ma. Shari Ni帽a Oliquino, adding that he felt very strongly about mental health and wellbeing as problems in this area have gotten worse because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jimenez emphasized the University鈥檚 commitment to its responsibility to 鈥渄evelop strong minds, resilient souls, and courageous spirits.鈥

MHWC plenary speakers were UP Professor Emeritus and former UP Diliman chancellor, Dr. Michael Tan, who talked about 鈥淕inhawa, Wellness and the Academe: Sociocultural Perspectives鈥; UP Manila Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Chair, Dr. Evangeline Bascara-Dela Fuente, who discussed 鈥淢ental Health and Wellbeing of Filipinos鈥; and UP Diliman PsycServ Director, Dr. Divine Love Salvador, who delivered her and UP Professor Emeritus Violeta Bautista鈥檚 presentation on 鈥淭he Place of Mental Health and Wellbeing in UP鈥檚 Educational Philosophy鈥. The UP sectoral representatives proceeded to their breakout sessions after the plenary to discuss recommendations, guided by the insights of the three speakers.

The plenary speakers (from left): UP Professor Emeritus and former UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan; UP Manila Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Chair, Dr. Evangeline Bascara-Dela Fuente; and UP Diliman PsycServ Director, Dr. Divine Love Salvador. Photos by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

Closing off MHWC was UP Executive Vice President Jose Fernando Alcantara, who said that the recommendations will be compiled and utilized in the crafting the implementation plan. He also expressed hope for a 2024 conference so that progress reports on the recommendations may be presented.

 

The sectoral breakout sessions. Photos by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (Student Affairs) and Office of Student Development Services Director Ma. Shari Ni帽a Oliquino. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

UP Los Ba帽os Chancellor Jose Camacho Jr. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

UP Los Ba帽os Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Janette H. Malata-Silva. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

UP Executive Vice President Jose Fernando Alcantara delivers the closing remarks. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

From left: UP President Angelo Jimenez, Faculty Regent Carl Marc Ramota, Staff Regent Victoria Belegal, and Student Regent Sofia Jan Trinidad listen to Professor Emeritus Michael Tan. The sectoral regents presented their manifestations on mental health and wellbeing in the second day of the conference. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

UP President Angelo Jimenez (left) chats with Professor Emeritus Michael Tan before the program starts. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

Faculty Regent Carl Marc Ramota initiates the signing of the commitment wall, writing that his action would be 鈥渢o push the agenda of MH&W in the BOR鈥. Staff Regent Victoria Belegal and Student Regent Sofia Jan Trinidad then signed after him. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.

 

The participants and organizers of the UP System Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.