Now more than ever, increasing mental health awareness and providing highly needed support for the youth are crucial. As a youth-oriented platform, Chalk.ph is taking part in this advocacy, thus we're partnering with one of the country's go-to communities when it comes to mental health support namely the Youth For Mental Health Coalition (Y4MH.)
Formed in 2016, Y4MH came about after different youth organizations gathered to address the need for an improved mental health system and awareness in the country. While suicide rates among students were rising, mental health services were either unavailable or inaccessible. One of the first major solutions that the group thought of was to lobby for the passage of the mental health bill. Two years later, with the concerted effort of advocates, leaders, and law-makers, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Philippine Mental Health Law on June 21, 2018. In the words of Sen. Risa Hontiveros–help is finally here.
But the work doesn't stop there. If anything, advocates like Y4MH have more in their hands. The organiztion has partnered with 90 organizations across the country with over 600 members nationwide. With this wide reach, the Coalition has brought seminars and discussions to various schools and mounted youth-friendly events to champion their cause through the years.
According to the organization's National Secretary General, Alyannah Lagasca, ther's nothing more rewarding than sharing her experiences to others and being a spark of change, saying, "While I do acknowledge that I am in volunteerism to satisfy my extreme likeness of providing a personal share of meaningful engagement, nothing still beats the very idea that lives of many are positively changed because of the timeless efforts we selflessly contribute."
In addition to these active efforts, cultivating a support system among the youth is a must. Alyannah elaborates, "Mental health awareness has been positively accepted by our society nowadays. What is needed primarily is a collective and inclusive practice of what we learn from awareness and educative discussions. Since no man is an island and our influence pays a great role in other people's growth, we must learn that creating communities of support is a need."
In lieu to this prevailing necessity, we at Chalk.ph are joining the movement and dedicating the month October to our partnership with Y4MH. On Oct. 5, 2018, we're bringing you a night of music and celebration entitled #OwnYourStory, a non-profit gig for the benefit of the Youth For Mental Health Coalition at Axon, Green Sun. In the lineup are cellist and singer-songwriter Coeli, rising pop artist Fern., punk alternative band Where's Ramona?, crowd-favorite act Over October, and rock outfit Oh Flamingo!. Tickets are already available here.
As we celebrate Mental Health Month, we'd like to remind everyone whor are fighting inner battles that life doesn't end in your struggles. As Alyannah puts it, "Use your battles as your stones in moving forward. Own your difficulties. Own your story."
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