The pandemic disrupted every aspect of life, and education was not exempt from this. In 2020, schools were forced to shut down their facilities and adopt remote learning models, which left the parents and students grappling with the challenges of online learning. Thankfully, three years after the pandemic started, schools are gradually transitioning to a more traditional classroom setting. The pandemic not only affected the education of the students, but also had a profound effect on their mental health.
As Restore Children and Family Services (RCFS) continues to explore ways to make its services accessible and available to the community and as the schools are still adjusting to the return to normalcy, the partnership entitled “Project Alalay ug Giya Alang sa Kabataan Hangpon, Unungan, ug PAmation ang mga Yangu-ngu (AGAK HUPAY)” was officially launched last February 24, 2023.
This project aims to promote the importance of mental health and the accessibility of trauma recovery services to the schools through a closed group designed to teach emotion regulation skills and to provide psychoeducation on abuse and trauma.
The closed group started on March 30 and 31, 2023, with the senior high students from the four pilot schools of Lapu-lapu, namely Marigondon, Pajo, Babag, and Mactan. The project was well-supported by the guidance advocates and the school leadership. After each group session, the team held debriefing meetings.
On June 2023, a total of 22 learners successfully completed the group sessions. Most of the students reported that the program had a significant positive impact on them such as learning useful skills that they can apply in their daily lives. The program created a safe space for them to openly share their point of view and experiences. Emotional regulation was an important skill for them learn. The project partnership not only benefitted the learners coming from the closed group, but also paved the way for referrals for intensive therapy sessions.
The project will resume on the 1st week of October with the same pilot schools and an additional school, Bankal. RCFS and the Lapu-lapu Department of Education hope that with the continuous partnership, more clients will be able to receive quality trauma recovery services.