IN LINE with the observance of World Mental Health Day today (October 10), the Institute is holding several activities on campus to help increase public awareness about mental health and the prevention of suicide.
Booths featuring stress-relieving activities and promoting mental health are opened during the opening program at the MSU-IIT Park (flagpole area) and the door to conversations regarding mental health and suicide is also opened.
Acoustic music performances are also held, including a live performance by guest local celebrity, the man behind the song Binangkal na ta bai! Mr. Pedro Mariquit.
Mariquit also shares his story, particularly the story behind the song he popularized, with the students.
“We are inviting all IITians in helping us fight the stigma that is attached to mental health illness,” says the organizer of the program, the Office of Guidance and Counseling (OGC) of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Services (OVCSS).
Noting the response by the students, Vice Chancellor for Student Services Dr. Marie Joy D. Banawa promises a bigger and more “grandiose” celebration of World Mental Health Day for next year.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the observation of World Health Day has the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
“The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide,” says the WHO on its website.
President Rodrigo Duterte signs into law only last year the country’s Mental Health Law or Republic Act No. 11036 that integrates mental health into the general healthcare system of the Philippines.
The landmark law, authored and sponsored principally by Senator Risa Hontiveros, also has, as one of its four components, the integration of mental health education in schools and workplaces.
However, it is not only the mandate of law that makes MSU-IIT prioritize mental health; it is also the knowledge that there is no health without mental health that moves it to action.