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My name is Denise Torres, I’m 17 and currently on my last year at Warman High School. Throughout my high school years, I have seen a lot of news in the Philippines about students and teachers committing suicide due to failing grades and heavy workloads.  I strongly believe that we can make an impactful change if we let our voices be heard. The Department of Education should reconsider their programs, and take an action regarding this issue.

In the early 2018, a group of concerned Filipinos and a congressman has called on the government to act on the epidemic of suicide involving teachers and children. The DepEd investigated this issue and promised to firmly acknowledge the mental health of the teachers and students. But we need more than just being recognized, we need true change.

Hire more teachers and build more classrooms. In 2015, based on the DepEd's projection, 20.6 million students attend in public schools and 2.9 million students in private schools. An average of 60 students shares one classroom. That means one teacher carry the burden of having to supervise these large number of students, causing them to deal with high work pressure, and the students not getting the decent amount of space they need to focus on their studies, causing them to fail.

Create more support programs for students and teachers. A plenty of support programs had been created by the DepEd, but they have to be strengthened and they need professional advice, as well as psychological and spiritual guidance and assistance like a hotline for them to call when they are depressed or have anxiety. There are many unknown cases of depression and bullying students’ experience, so they have to have a support program they would feel comfortable reaching to if they have struggles, or if they are feeling down as sometimes not everyone have an adult they could talk to.

Avoid high expectations. As a student myself, I understand that having good academic background is important. With this, students have the necessary knowledge, abilities and values to deal with the challenges they will be facing throughout their lives. But in dealing with difficult tasks to perform well in academics, they may feel really stressful because of their inability to perform all demands. Asking them to finish a research paper in a short period of time and have really high expectations of its content, and expecting them to spend their weekends with school work and attending extra-curricular activities for good marks give them anxiety to push themselves to overwork their mental, emotional and physical health.

                It’s not too late for us to make a change. Please sign and support my petition to help put an end to the epidemic of youth suicide in Philippines.