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April 27, 2024   Los Baños Campus   Campus Wide

Home/ News & Articles/ LSPU-LBC personnel trained as suicide prevention advocates
LSPU-LBC personnel trained as suicide prevention advocates

The Laguna State Polytechnic University-Los Baños Campus (LSPU-LBC) took a proactive step in addressing mental health concerns among its student body and staff.

In collaboration with the Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, Inc.(PGCA)-Laguna Chapter, the campus conducted a training entitled “RACE Against Suicide: A Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention in Schools” at the LSPU-LBC Board Room, April 26.

The training aimed to equip teaching and non-teaching personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively identify, manage, and refer individuals at risk of suicide.

Dr. Flora H. Salandanan, Chairperson of LSPU-LBC Office of Student Affairs and Services, emphasized the crucial role of educators and staff in supporting the mental health and well-being of students and colleagues.

On the other hand, Dr. Maria Theresa B. Gallardo of the Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association-Laguna Chapter underscored the importance of providing support and reassurance to individuals experiencing mental health issues.

“Mahalaga na maiparating natin na ‘I’m here for you’… Ang kailangan ay may tumugon, may makinig at may magrespond [when someone shows signs of suicide],” Dr. Gallardo stressed.

In 2014, the World Health Organization acknowledged suicide as a significant global health issue. By 2020, UNESCO disclosed that more than 27 million Filipino students from both public and private educational institutions, along with over 880,000 educators in public schools, were impacted by this pressing concern.

Participants were trained to become effective “gatekeepers” in a school set up to prevent suicide incidence. They were equipped with basic skills in recognition of warning signs, assessment of the level of risk using the 6-question Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale-Screen (C-SSRS), and advanced skills in “Telecounceling” and intervention and referral facilitation. Practical simulations provided a hands-on learning experience.

Further, the concept of self-care was highlighted during the training.

“As we nurture the mental health of other people, the more we have to take care of ourselves,” Dr. Gallardo said. She also reiterated that teachers and personnel may refer students to the guidance counselor for further interventions.

Meanwhile, the PGCA-Laguna Chapter suggested that LSPU-LBC maintain a directory of mental health professionals for referrals and explore financial assistance options for students in need.

Dr. Dianne L. Fernandez, Dr. Maria Theresa B. Gallardo, Ms. Ann Reshier G. Baguyo, and Ms. April Joy Cruz of the PGCA-Laguna Chapter served as the resource persons for the activity. It was facilitated through the assistance of the LSPU-LBC Medical Services, Gender and Development, and the Guidance and Counseling Services.

The training concluded with a reminder from Dr. Mary Ann S. Hernandez, Head of LSPU-LBC GAD, urging participants to be beacons of hope and support for those in distress. The initiative has seen over 10,000 individuals trained under the "RACE Against Suicide" program to date.

The proactive approach taken by LSPU-LBC demonstrates its commitment to creating a safe and supportive environment both for students and personnel in addressing mental health concerns.

The event was a collaborative effort of Ms. Charmine W. Ballesteros of the Medical Services, Ms. Mary Anne A. Alipao of the Guidance Services, and Dr. Mary Ann S. Hernandez of the Gender and Development.