Means to prevent suicides: How to deal with stress

Logo courtesy of DOH-Northern Mindanao Facebook page

EVERY year, close to 800,000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Suicide does not just occur in high-income countries. In fact, over 79 percent of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.

It is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds, with most people believing that the still increasing number of suicide deaths and attempted suicide cases is caused by the emergence of social media.

Although globally, the most common methods of suicide are ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms.

There are several ways and means to prevent and control suicides, as stated by the WHO: you can reduce access to means of suicide; early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders; reporting by media in a responsible way; among others.

However, before applying a large-scale solution, perhaps we can start small-scale. One is dealing with stress.

Stress in itself is not bad as it is a part of life that everyone all go through. Nevertheless, if left untreated, stress can lead to depression which may lead for a person to feel loss of motivation, loosing and hatred of oneself to the point that said person with depression can only see death as a means to escape reality and pain. Thus, suicide.

The Department of Health (DOH) has introduced the 12 steps in managing stress as it continue its campaign on mental health.

According to Ma. Dolores Mercado, mental health program manager of DOH-Northern Mindanao, the following 12 S' will help people who are going through a stressful time:

1. Speak. Talk to someone when you feel overwhelmed or unable to deal with stress on your own. According to DOH, venting can help unload unwanted feelings.

2. Spirituality. Devoting your time to connect with yourself.

3. Siesta. Usually means taking a nap, a break, or a short rest to recharge yourself. Mercado said you can also just stop whatever you are doing and take deep breaths to relax your mind and body.

4. Self-Awareness. Getting to know yourself, knowing your thoughts, emotions, behavior and expressions. It is accepting your positive and negative side. Mercado said accepting oneself, flaws and all, will help you adapt to changes and prevent anger from controlling your actions whenever someone points out your weakness.

5. Sounds and Songs. Listening to relaxing and soothing music can relieve one's depression and perhaps increase one's self-esteem and give motivation.

6. Socials. You don't need to be a "social butterfly" or to go to parties, Mercado said. One can engage in productive activities that can develop your ability to deal with people.

7. Sensation. Soothe your pain caused by stress away through indulging yourself with a whole body massage. Unknot those tense and aching muscles, relieve those headaches and pamper yourself.

8. Sports. Clear your mind by engaging in sports, such as basketball, badminton, bowling, etc. It will keep your mind off of things that stresses you out.

9. Stretching. Loosen muscles, lubricate joints and increase your body's oxygen supply by doing simple movements.

10. Scheduling. Optimize the time available to achieve productive and satisfactory results.

11. Stress Debriefing. Seeking for a professional help to talk about your feelings and reactions to critical incident.

12. Smile. Smiling can release stress, calm you down, make you attractive and cheer other people up.

The DOH recently launched its National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline, a new crisis hotline for all undergoing any mental health crisis including suicide prevention.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11036 or the Mental Health Act mandated DOH to develop a national suicide prevention strategy as part of its National Mental Health Program.

The new NCMH Crisis Hotline can be reached at 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP) operated 24/7.


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