Congresswoman Rida Robes Advocates Mental Health- Named Ambassador Against Cyber-bullying

Depression and mental health is a rising global concern to humanity and many of us have faced or know people who are going through it. This what Lone district of San Jose Del Monte congresswoman Rida Robes wants to address to congress and to the public. She admits that she went through depression and cyber-bullying because of her looks before.

She also shared that there was reports of suicides from a public school in the city, all teenagers and died within a year. This was alarming for her and knew that there is a need to provide help to those who are experiencing depression and cyber-bullying. In one of her recent privilege speech titled “Changing Faces,” she discussed the “changed faces” of the Filipino youth citing that suicidal teenagers usually ranges from 13 to 25 years old.

“Depression needs to be treated. Early intervention can come in the form of caring. It helps a lot when a depressed individual knows someone cares,” she stated. “Reports also say that at least 3.3 million Filipinos suffer from depression,” she adds.

To address these concerns, she would visit different schools and barangays to interact with students and faculty to provide training on how to take care of themselves physically and mentally. 

Mental Facilities For Bulakeños

As a congresswoman of the district, she proposed House Bill No. 2383 (An act establishing a mental health clinic in the city), which has now approved in the committee level in the lower house. She states that many parent and children relationships are now unhealthy due to the workload and struggle of commuting everyday which takes time from families.

She also adds that that the school also brings in pressure from the loads and peers that they have. And social media also plays a big part in amplifying the feeling of being lonely, envious, and sad.

While awaiting for the bill to be passed, she appeals to Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to “formulate and implement an ethical orientation program anchored on the teaching of moral and philosophical values... that are necessary for human survival.”

She also appealed to the Department of Health for the extensive implementation of Republic Act 11036 or the Philippine Mental Health Law by utilizing the suicide help numbers which has been proven to save a lot of lives. She also mentions another existing law known as Republic Act 9258 or the Guidance Counseling Act of 2004 to help in hiring licensed guidance counselors that will help with the mental health of students.

Partnership with Sunfull 

As the statistics show that the country is one of the hotspots of cases of depression in Southeast Asia, the need to further increase their voice and action would require a partnership with more organizations that focuses on these issues. Sunfull Movement from South Korea that campaigns with the purpose of putting a stop to cyber-bullying and internet trolling.

Founded by Professor Min, Byoung-chul of Kyung Hee University, South Korea the Sunfull Movement is a global organization with the goal of stopping cyber-bullying. The movement recently went to the Philippines to form partnerships with institutions and personalities.

Together with Pangasinan Rep. Baby Arenas and Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Ann Hofer, they signed a partnership with the Sunfull Foundation to make the internet a safer place for all that will reach out to people affected by negativity and raises awareness about mental health and combat cyber-bullying. 

As an ambassador for the cause, she continues to campaign for more ways to solve, or at least make action to stop cyber-bullying, help those affected and are afflicted with depression and provide all the necessary professional help. 

Taking this advocacy to more people and to congress may face a lot of challenges, yet it is a great start to open more discussions, push more projects, and make more people aware of mental health and its implications.

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