Cebu teacher faces probe for provoking students to intentionally harm themselves

John Sitchon

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Cebu teacher faces probe for provoking students to intentionally harm themselves

MENTAL HEALTH. The University of Cebu will be deploying guidance counselors to the Banilad Campus to provide mental health assistance to students and teachers who are affected by the incident.

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The University of Cebu Medical Center puts a teacher under preventive suspension for telling students to commit self-harm

Trigger warning: This story contains references to self-harm

CEBU, Philippines – The University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed) launched an investigation into an incident involving a teacher who provoked students to harm themselves, Candice Gotianuy, university president told Rappler on Sunday, March 17.

In a video recording posted on a Facebook page managed by students and alumni, the teacher told students that if they harmed themselves, it would be his “greatest pleasure.”

The university president, in a statement on Saturday, March 16, announced that the teacher has been served a preventive suspension and is banned from entering the campus.

“University of Cebu does not condone any act of self-harm or the encouragement of such. I am disgusted by the actions of this person. I cannot even call him a teacher,” the statement read.

Under Republic Act No. 11036 or the Mental Health Act, universities are mandated to develop policies and programs for students, educators, and other employees designed to raise awareness on mental health issues and provide support and services for individuals at risk, as well as give facility access, including referral mechanisms for individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support.

Gotianuy added that they will be meeting with the university’s nursing department to discuss the incident and deploy their counselors to provide assistance to affected students.

“In accordance with our policies and ethical guidelines, an investigation is currently being conducted to understand the context and circumstances of this incident fully,” the University of Cebu’s statement on Saturday read.

Against teachings

For Dinah Palmera Nadera, psychiatrist and adjunct faculty of the Center for Research and Innovation at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, the teacher’s actions were against the very teachings of the medical profession.

“First of all, these are health professionals, nurses, who actually should be providing mental health services. At the professional level, it even goes against what is being taught in the curriculum,” Nadera told Rappler.

Under the Mental Health Act, psychiatry and neurology are required subjects in all medical and allied health courses, including post-graduate courses in health.

The psychiatrist explained that educators, especially those in health institutions, are mandated by law to promote mental health and help students who are at risk of mental health problems. 

“What he did goes against the law. He increased the risk of developing mental health concerns,” Nadera said.

If you are experiencing mental health problems or know someone who may be at risk, check out this guide. –

The Department of Health, through the National Center for Mental Health, has a national crisis hotline to assist people with mental health concerns. The hotline can be reached at 1553, which is a Luzon-wide, toll-free landline number, 0917-899-8727 and 0966-351-4518 for Globe and TM subscribers, and 0908-639-2672 for Smart and Sun subscribers.

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