Rañada: Suicidal tendencies!

RECENT reports indicate that there is an alarming rate of suicide cases in our beloved city. Based on statistics, most of the victims of these incidents are youth and young adults.

What triggers them to abruptly end their young, promising life? Many experts point out that our society plays an important role in the mental health of its citizenry. With the advent of wireless technology and electronic gadgets, our ability to interact personally with our peers has become less frequent. This invisible barrier prevents our young generation, the "millennial," their capacity to open up and speak out their minds. The only way to express their disgust and frustrations is now limited to the online social media platforms accessible to them. In most instances, logical advises are not given but rather cyber bullying sometimes occur. Acknowledging how "emotionally fragile" our youth and young adults had become now a days, we cannot ignore the fact that the easiest and most convenient way for them to escape is to cut the string that connects between life and death.

This behavior can be attributed to playing video games. If the player cannot unlock a specific achievement or complete a certain stage, the player resorted to resetting the game. This kind of attitude, however, does not apply to the real world. One cannot simply turnoff the switch called "life" and start all over again.

It is a known reality that this issue is so challenging and very expansive that requires experts' intervention. In most first world countries, employing the help of psychologists had become very common to address issues involving depression and other mental health concerns. To simplify, people with disposable income can afford to pay some strange individual just so they can talk to someone. But our reality is far different from those living in the western world. Most of us cannot afford to pay a psychologist that would listen to our grievances.

As a tight-knit community, what can we do instead to address this looming concern? Perhaps we can start with the basic unit of our society -- our own family. The core values of our kids are shaped inside our individual household. As parents, we play a vital role in our kids' upbringing. And as our kids enter adolescence, exposure to realities of life slowly creeps in. We should, as parents, also know how to adapt to the changing times. Supervision over the use of electronic gadgets and social media must be the top priority inside our home.

Other sectors in our community such as school can also provide the required assistance to reduce the undue stresses of our youth. Promoting healthy and interactive campus lifestyle for students limits the possibility of having someone being left out or bullied. Adaptive curriculum may also be designed and considered to improve the understanding on the importance of living a balanced life at the early stage of their existence.

The government and religious sectors can likewise provide guiding principles both for parents and young adults alike. They cannot simply ignore that suicide cases in Cagayan de Oro are rapidly increasing and the victims are getting younger. Rather than politicize the issue, our local officials should look into this issue from a different perspective and initiate professional community-based interventions. Our church leaders should also focus on how to improve their messaging that will give importance to the value of life. Reading a script during weekly homily will not persuade churchgoers to pay attention to the message. But these institutions can only do so much at their limited capacity. The sole burden still lies on every family where the victim's belongs. And for us who are fortunate enough not to experience such tragic incident, we cannot just a blind eye on what's happening around us.

Never hesitate to lend an ear to those who needs to be heard. Don't think twice to offer your precious time to a friend who is in troubled-mind. Because one case of suicidal death is one too many.


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