Depression photo (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao)
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos should extend support to their friends and loved ones with suicidal tendencies and avoid trivializing mental disorders.
According to the Department of Health (DOH,) suicide is preventable as long as one does not dismiss a person’s depression. The agency explained that depression is a period of sadness that lasts for two weeks and more which causes a person to lose interest in activities once enjoyed.
Health Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle said a depressed person would also prefer to be left alone and have thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
“Almost 90+ percent, may warning signs iyan (have warning signs)…If people start to withdraw from the usual activity or always isolating themselves or even expressing the thought. So it is very important na iyong (that the) companion or family member be aware na ito (that these are) warning signs ng (of) suicide ito,” said Valle
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 800,000 people die yearly from suicide worldwide. It is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 years old.
In the Philippines, more than 2,500 suicide deaths were recorded in 2012 and the DOH is working to prevent this from increasing by opening a hope or suicide hotline.
Since its launch in 2016, they received more than 7,000 calls from depressed persons and 44% of them belong to the age group 13 to 29 years old.
DOH also advised the public to seek help and intervention for people who have signs of depression and history of suicide attempts.
The appeal comes after the high-profile deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, both of whom have battled depression prior to their deaths.
“It’s a complex issue but it is preventable…It’s really a sad thing, you think people have everything but if you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss the warning signs,” said Valle.
As of now, the agency continues to monitor “Hopeline” to check the callers’ condition and prevent any suicide attempts. – Aiko Miguel
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