IT IS commendable that the Gaisano Mall of Davao placed barriers on the fifth floor to prevent another case of sucide.
The putting up of barriers was a recommendation of the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) and the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) as a countermeasure after a series of suicide last year at the tallest mall in the city.
Just like how the mall has put up barriers to prevent suicide, the government, academe, church, workplaces, and families must also set up “barriers” that will prevent people from commiting suicide. Physical barriers are not enough to prevent suicide cases in the near future. To prevent such incidents, there is a need to educate the public on mental health.
One of the primary driving force of suicide cases is depression. There is a misconception that people choose to be depressed when it is actually a mental health illness that needs medical care. It is sad to note that there are some who would see depression as simple a phase and not something that should be treated seriously.
According to the 2011 World Health Organization Global School-Based Health Survey, 16% of students in Philippines between 13-15 years old have
“seriously considered attempting suicide while 13% have actually attempted suicide one or more times.”
To prevent any suicide cases in the future there is a need for the health sector to develop programs that will create an environment that is good for mental health.
We need programs and campaigns that will educate people on mental health and how to take care of it. The government, having the widest reach, must have an active role in this.
With the emotional volatility of the youth, there is a need for schools to step up their campaign on mental health. They should provide spaces where students can unleash what they are feeling.
Likewise, there is a need for different sectors to strengthen families, who can help prevent suicides, on dealing with family members who have a mental illnesses.
The physical barriers at the Gaisano Mall of Davao are good short term countermeasures against suicide at the mall. For the long term, there is a need for everyone in the society to better understand the importance of mental health and how one can be of held to those experiencing mental health problems.