DAVAO CITY -- The Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) and mental health advocates vowed to boost the awareness campaign and intervention programs to stem the rise of teenage suicide and depression.
City Councilor Joselle Villafuerte warned that suicide cases among teenagers could rise if the government and other stakeholders do nothing to strengthen their mental health intervention programs.
Villafuerte noted that Davao City was among the cities with high teenage suicide and depression cases in 2017.
Many conditions influence the spike of suicide and depression incidence, such as bullying in schools, the councilor said. She also hinted at the city’s rapid urbanization ,which creates conditions that stress people, as one of the major culprits.
“We must be prepared and we must know how to deal with conditions like bullying,” Villafuerte told reporters during Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw.
In 2017, the Commission on Population in Region 11 (POPCOM-11) voiced concerns on the rising cases of teenage suicide attempts.
Based on the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study 4 (YAFS 4) conducted by the agency, suicide attempts among the youth increased from 21.3 percent in 2002, to 36.8 percent in 2013. The level of suicide ideation, or suicidal thoughts, also rose to 13.4 percent in 2013 from 11.2 percent in 2002.
Among the reasons teenagers commit or think of committing suicide were family problems, poverty, domestic abuse, unexpected pregnancies and gender identity.
Precious Manliguez, director of the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA)-Davao Chapter, said depression is an invisible condition until symptoms manifest themselves outwardly.
Manliquez said knowing the warning signs of depression can save the life of a loved one or a family member from committing suicide. She also underscored the importance of spending more time with the family.
“Mas maganda kung alam na ng mas maaga ang symptoms (It is better to know the symptoms earlier),” Manliguez said.
Early warning signs, she said, could include isolating self from others, lack of interest and withdrawal from usual activity. Manliguez said family members should talk and comfort person showing such conditions.
Now on its 56 years of promoting mental health, the PMHA and Mango Life are partnering for a three 30-minute radio program segments focusing on mental health issues.
Eden David, host of Mango Life, said the program will air over Mango Radio for two hours every week. He said one of the segments is the Mango-lenial segment dedicated to the youth on the different issues and struggles that they encounter.
The partnership was sealed on Monday following the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Mango Life, PMHA, and the Philippine Association of Speech Language Pathologist. (Lilian C Mellejor/PNA)
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