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As the country celebrates the 30th National Children’s Month, the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Thursday called for support as the government intensifies efforts to protect the youth’s mental health.

Together with the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and the National Youth Commission (NYC), the welfare department will lead this year’s National Children’s Month (NCM) with the theme “Kalusugan, Kaisipan at Kapakanan ng Bawat Bata Ating Tutukan”, which aims to prioritize the availability of interventions that would support the mental health and overall well-being of Filipino children.

Reports from the National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline showed that 9.7 percent of the overall number of calls it received were suicide-related and many of them came from minors triggered by bullying, sadness, anxiety, stress caused by family problems, academic concerns, and others.

During last year’s celebration of NCM, it was found out that mental health was one of the critical issues raised by children participants in the learning and consultation session initiated by the organizers.

In this year’s celebration, the department and its partners have lined up activities that will focus on providing mental support for children. This includes the launch of the CWC MAKABATA helpline and the National Play Advocacy Week Partner’s Play Toolkit.

The celebration will also highlight the relaunch of the Sarilaysay and Eroplanong Papel mental health literary pieces, which aim to help children cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic.

It will be followed by the launch of video documentaries on the success stories of local government units on child participation and the functionality of their respective Local Council for the Protection of Children.

Under Republic Act 10661, the month of November is declared as NCM to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the United Nations General Assembly on Nov. 20, 1989.

The Philippines is a signatory to the CRC, which is the first binding universal treaty solely dedicated to the protection and promotion of children’s rights. (PNA)

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