CAPIZ Archbishop Jose Advincula is calling on the Catholic Church and the community to take on the problem of suicide head-on by enhancing the "culture of presence".
In his pastoral letter dated July 3, Advincula said there is a need to address the rising suicide cases, particularly among young people, in the Archdiocese.
"Being present with anyone, letting them feel that we are with them, especially when they are burdened, would matter so much,” said Advincula.
"As a Church, we are called to cultivate the culture of presence,” he added.
On the other hand, the prelate said families must also be at the forefront of the battle versus suicide.
He said the family's presence has a big role to play in preventing suicide incidents.
"This can be done if parents journey with, if they give quality time to, and if they listen to their children and other members of the family,” Advincula said.
“When children see and feel the love exists in their family and homes, they realize more the value and beauty of life,” he added.
Aside from family members, the archbishop said other members of the community can also help their members with suicidal tendencies.
He noted how communities should reach out to their members, who are in need of someone to talk to, instead of judging them.
"When we know of someone who is experiencing depression, we should reach out to him,” he said.
“Even if we are not mental health experts, what depressed persons need are people who are ready to listen without judgment,” Advincula added.
Department of Health records show that some 3.3 million Filipinos suffer from depressive disorders.
Suicide rates in the country are 2.5 among males and 1.7 among females per 100,000 population. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)