A MENTAL health expert believes that the media can help in educating the public on the importance of suicide reporting and awareness of the need for mental health.

Dr. Rene Obra, head of the Center for Behavioral Sciences (CBS) of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), said that media plays a vital role in raising awareness about the importance of seeking help when it comes to mental health.

Obra was the guest speaker in a symposium on mental health organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP) Cebu chapter.

Obra said that from August 2011 to August 2015, around 256 recorded suicides were committed by males while 142 were by females.

The record also shows that 116 persons under the ages 21 to 30 committed suicide in the same period.

Obra said that VSMMC has organized the “Tawag Paglaum” to address suicide cases by providing people with suicidal tendencies an avenue to air their concerns.

Obra said that from July 2016 to August this year, they’ve received 184 calls.

Obra said that hotlines like Tawag Paglaum are needed in order to give those people an avenue to express their feelings.

Obra said that the media can help in bringing suicide out in the open so the public will know about its risks and effects on the family.

But he also emphasized the need for media outlets to come up with policies that will prevent “copycat suicides.”

Obra said that media can also help by raising awareness of the need for mental health. (JKV)