Group seeks for more mental health programs to address teacher suicide cases

A teachers’ group has called on the government to address the issue of teacher suicides by implementing more mental health programs.
Group seeks for more mental health programs to address teacher suicide cases

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) - Davao Region held a press conference to address the issues of teacher suicide due to depression last Thursday, January 31 in Davao City.

ACT-Davao president Elenito Escalante said that the incidences of teacher suicides in the region and across the country can be attributed to too much workload, pressure and depression. Escalante said that suicide is becoming a perennial problem among teachers because they are always “overworked yet underpaid.” He added that government agencies always rely on teachers to cover for them.

Group seeks for more mental health programs to address teacher suicide cases
ACT-Davao said teachers are overworked and underpaid | Photo Courtesy: ABS-CBN

Escalante explained that public school teachers are expected to become workers during election, health workers during health programs while the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to burden them with “excessive paperwork.” He said that such systems exhaust teachers.

ACT-Davao City president Reynaldo Pardillo expressed his disappointment over the government, specifically the local government unit of Davao City, seemingly lack of support for its public school teachers.

Pardillo said, “Sad to say the DepEd in Davao region do not have any existing mental health program which has been long overdue asked by every teaching personnel, there were some attempts that in every Midyear Performance Review Evaluation though but still not enough.”

He urged local officials to take action and implement programs that will help teachers with their mental health. Pardillo said, “So we hope that there should really be mental health programs because most of the death and suicide incidents are related to these mental issues such as depression and anxiety as told by the immediate family of persons involved.”

Teacher in Compostela Valley hangs herself

The latest report of an alleged suicide by a teacher was in November last year. A 55-year-old public school teacher, Fe E. Concepcion, committed suicide inside her classroom.

Rey Solitario, officer-in-charge of DepEd ComVal Division said that initial investigation found the teacher was burdened with problems. He said that the teacher appeared “hopeless, stressed, and useless,” because of the financial and health problems she had. She was the 5th DepEd teacher who committed suicide.

Senators alarmed over suicide cases of teachers

Senators Sonny Angara and Win Gatchalian have expressed their alam over the reported teacher suicides due to “overwork.”

Angara has been pushing for the passing of Teacher Protection Bill that aims to promote and improve the working conditions of public school teachers. However, the bill is still pending for approval until now.

Meanwhile, DepEd secretary Leonor Briones earlier said that they are working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) on how to handle the issue of teacher suicides.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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