Don’t blame heavy workloads for suicide of teachers – Briones
Education Secretary Leonor Briones stressed on Wednesday that the workload in her department should not be blamed for the recent reported cases of suicide among teachers.
She said the Department of Education (DepEd) felt “very badly” for the loss of these young teachers. But she said these deaths should not be attributed to their supposedly heavy workloads.
For one, she noted that the circumstances behind the recent deaths of the three teachers were “very different from each other.”
“We can’t comment on whether a lesson plan causes suicide,” Briones said on the sidelines of deliberations for the DepEd budget at the Senate. “We can’t say that professionally. We can’t give an opinion and draw a conclusion that work in DepEd drives a person [to take his or her life].”
Last month, the groups Teachers Dignity Coalition and Alliance Concerned Teachers blamed DepEd for the death of the three teachers, as they pointed out that they were reportedly burdened by a heavy workload.
The Youth for Mental Health Coalition (Y4MH) pointed out on Wednesday that it was “irresponsible” for any individual or group to attribute suicides to a specific cause.
“Some negative life events may be triggering factors. But underlying social and psychological factors also come into play,” Y4MH chair Dr. Raymond John Naguit told the Inquirer. “Some behaviors such as substance abuse and alcoholism increase impulsiveness which may also contribute to suicide risk.”
Briones said DepEd had started closely working with the Department of Health (DOH) to help address the mental health needs of their more than 800,000 teachers nationwide.
Earlier, the DOH urged the public, especially those who might have mental health issues, to contact the 24/7 Hopeline to either help them unburden their emotional baggage or to seek professional help.
Hopeline can be reached via telephone number (02) 8044673, mobile phone number 0917 558 4673 or toll-free 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.