Passi City launches Online Psych First Aid training to address mental health of youth

PASSI CITY–The Department of Education’s Dreamline Project for Mental Wellness has partnered with the guidance counselors of Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) to kickstart a three-day Online Psychological First Aid (PFA) Training Program. Led by Dr. Ma. Roselyn Palcat of DepEd Schools Division of Passi City and supported by Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr., President of ISUFST, this crucial initiative will run from October 11 to October 13, 2023, at the Nine Suite Business Hotel in Passi City.

Day 1 of the training, which started this Wednesday, October 11, was dedicated to orientation and foundation building. The morning started with registration and pre-test activities, followed by the opening rites. Asst. Superintendent Dr. Luz Banson delivered the welcome address, while Dr. Palcat and Dr. Herman Lagon, the lead facilitator from the ISUFST Team, provided essential messages. The facilitators and training management team, led by Mr. Dayle Pabiona, were later introduced. The morning session concluded with a comprehensive program overview and house rules presented by Dr. Lagon, ensuring that participants were well-informed about the training’s structure.

The day continued with icebreaker activities, followed by the exploration of the shift from face-to-face to online psychological first aid with Ms. Keziah Lagarto, RGC. Key presentations that ensued included “Ethical & Legal Standards in Online Psychological First Aid” by Ms. Ruby Faunillo, RGC, and “Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) Test and Assessment” by Ms. Roussel Justinn Esmeralda, RGC. The afternoon also saw participants engaged in managing crisis situations online, using case studies and role play to simulate real-life scenarios, with Dr. Herman Lagon, RGC, leading the way.

As the day came to a close, participants embarked after dinner on journaling, reflection, and mindfulness exercises. The evening ended with a plenary session where attendees shared insights and lessons learned.

For Day 2, October 12, the focus will shift to skills enhancement and practical application. The morning will begin with breakfast and an icebreaker activity, followed by sessions on documentation and record keeping in online counseling by Ms. Roussel Justinn Esmeralda, RGC, and referral procedures by the same presenter.

After lunch, participants will engage in case studies, simulating online PFA challenges through role play, with Dr. Lagon guiding the exercises. A workshop on effective communication strategies for online counseling, led by Dr. Grace Bunda, RGC, will round out the day’s activities. Journaling, reflection, and a plenary session, including the Steaming Off session with Dr. Imelda Arenga, RGC, and Ms. Keziah Lagarto will close out Day 2.

The last day of the program, October 13, participants will focus on capstone projects and the closing ceremony. The day will start with breakfast and an icebreaker activity, followed by preparation time for the capstone project—developing an online PFA action plan for the school year 2023-2024. Dr. Lagon will then conduct an online Enneagram test and evaluation.

After lunch, participants will engage in capstone presentations, sharing their insights and takeaways. The program will conclude with closing remarks from representatives of DepEd Passi and ISUFST, followed by certificates distribution, post-tests, and evaluations.

Dr. Ma. Roselyn Palcat, the driving force behind this initiative, emphasized its significance, saying, “In these challenging times, the mental well-being of our basic education students is paramount. With the Online Psychological First Aid Training Program, thanks to our partner ISUFST, we aim to equip our educators and community members with the skills needed to provide immediate online support. We want to ensure that our youth receive the assistance they need, especially when they face emotional distress or crises.”

This training program plays a crucial role in the broader Katatagan “Cuarto Distrito Mental Health and Resiliency” Program, initiated by Cong. Ferjenel Biron, which aims to promote psychological wellness in the 4th District of Iloilo. It integrates the Natasha Goulborn Foundation’s Katatagan ng Kalooban Tungo sa Pagsulong ng Kabataang Filipino or Katatagan Modules into homeroom guidance for Grades 4-12, providing essential support for the region’s youth. (Text and photos by Mr. Julius Ruger Hermano)