by Kassie Fallorina || Photo Credit: Nikki Ela Tabaranza
This article contains discussions of suicide and references to depression and other mental health disorders that may act as triggers. Continue at your own discretion.
Stress. Anger. Doubt. Frustration. Sadness.
These feelings may seem familiar to many these days. While some can manage on their own, others get overwhelmed and, eventually, stuck in an unrelenting hole of self-doubt and depression.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 700,000 people die by suicide each year; that’s approximately one person every 40 seconds. The United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that at least 90 percent of these people suffer from one or more mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism.
In the Philippines, mental health workers have noted an increase in calls to suicide prevention hotlines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase has been attributed to depression over the inability to earn a living, academic pressure, social isolation, and in some cases, disruptive home environments.
To those who are not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it may be difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much agony that they can see no other way of finding relief except through death.
The best way to prevent these deaths is by recognizing warning signs and knowing how to respond to them. Warning signs may include talking about killing or harming oneself, exhibiting feelings of hopelessness, and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as drugs and weapons.
If you spot these warning signs in someone you know, offer an empathetic listening ear. Let them know that they’re not alone and that you care. Don’t, however, try to minimize their pain. Instead, encourage them to seek help and see a mental health professional. You can offer support, but you can’t expect yourself to make them get better.
As we commemorate World Suicide Prevention Month, it is important that we check up on our friends and relatives, not only today but for all the days to come as well. Strike a conversation and ask them how they’re doing because even the ones with the brightest smiles are hiding the deepest scars. It is not only with the presence of warning signs that we must tap the people around us.
Lastly, to anyone going through a hard time right now: You are not alone. Don’t be afraid of opening up, and find strength in vulnerability. Things will get better.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting suicidal tendencies, you can dial the following hotlines for help:
National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline
Globe/TM: (0917) 899-8727
Smart/Sun/TNT: (0908) 639-2672
Telephone: (02) 989-8727
PLDT: (02) 804-4673
Globe: (0917) 558-4673
Smart/TNT: (0918) 873-4673
In Touch Community Services
Cellphone: (0917) 800-1123
Telephone: (02) 893-7603
PSHS-EVC Guidance Counseling Unit
Official GCU Site: https://tinyurl.com/GCUGoogleSite (use your PSHS email to access)