SAFEGUARDING MENTAL HEALTH: PSHS-CVC’s student-facilitators to launch PFO

SAFEGUARDING MENTAL HEALTH: PSHS-CVC’s student-facilitators to launch PFO

Student-counselors of the Philippine Science High School – Cagayan Valley Campus (PSHS-CVC) are set to launch the Peer Facilitators Organization (PFO), sought to provide a strong relationship and healthier mental health among its students through listening and sharing common experiences.

According to PSHS-CVC PFO Adviser Mac Callejo, the initiation may be held between the last week of February and the first week of March after the organization’s accreditation.

Desired to build the capacity of the facilitators, webinars for four Saturdays were established from last January to February.

“In order to prepare our facilitators, we held a four-Saturday Capacity Building Webinar headed by the elected officers. This was held to develop the members’ skills in understanding not only themselves but also others,” Callejo said in an interview.

The PFO adviser also stated that it was the school administration that requested the start of this organization seeing the need to provide assistance to learners in this time of distress.

“Unlike the other nature of organizations that have a lot of activities, and do fundraisings, PFO is more on service and helping hands,” Callejo bared.

Meanwhile, Callejo’s co-adviser, Maria Jessica Villantes, added that this organization will serve as the right hand of the guidance unit, knowing that in our current situation, a lot of scholars are experiencing personal and emotional difficulties.

“Trained student-counselors will be the one helping, knowing that students will be more comfortable telling and communicating their problems with someone who is of the same generation and someone who can relate,” Villantes said.

She clarified that counseling is not to be forced but of free will as the students will be the ones to approach them.

Villantes added that there will be three ways on how the sessions will be implemented: either one-on-one, group, or referral and that the facilitators’ training will be continuous.

Both the advisers shared that their activities will be step-by-step and gradual, citing that they have just started and are about to enter a new world with a lot of upcoming challenges.

They also reminded students to not be afraid to approach the Guidance Unit or their organization once established.

On the other hand, PFO President Marie Victoria Galutera stated in an interview that this organization will serve as an experience and safe space for students like her.

“Being a peer facilitator shows empathy, sincerity, understanding, confidentiality, and the basic counseling skills. And to add, my co-students will be more comfortable sharing with us, while we can also provide advice if we have experienced the situation, knowing that experience is the best teacher,” Galutera said.

As of February 10, 2022, there are 33 members of PFO.

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