THE World Health Organization (WHO) defines “health” as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being -- not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Mental health is an integral part of this definition.
The Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) is advocating that mental health is as important as one’s physical health. We at the PMHA wish that everyone would acknowledge this fact and accept that there is nothing wrong with having a mental condition or disorder. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Let’s do away with the stigma on mental health.
Here’s the state of mental health around the world, according to statistics:
* Around 450 million people are estimated to have some form of mental health disorder
* Around 154 million people suffer from depression
* Around 50 million people have epilepsy
* Around 24 million have Alzheimer or other dementias
* Around 91 million people have alcohol use disorders
* Around 25 million people have schizophrenia
* Around 15 million people have drug use disorders
* Nearly 900,000 people commit suicide every year
* In the Philippines, 1 in 5 people will suffer from mental illness at some time in their life
Lately, we have heard many cases of deaths through suicide or suicide attempts in all ages in the Philippines and even in Bacolod, around Negros Occidental, and in neighboring Panay Island.
It has been noted that 2 out of 3 who commit suicide are depressed when they chose to end their lives. 1 out of 3 may be caused by alcoholism or suffering from another mental disorder like schizophrenia or drug addiction.
Suicide is estimated to be under-reported for multiple reasons including stigma, religious concerns and social attitudes.
Who may have the tendency to commit suicide?
* Those who recently had a loss of health, marriage, friend, job, freedom, home
* Those who have a mental illness like depression, anxiety and schizophrenia
* Those who have a family history of suicide
* Those who have a socio-economic disadvantage, low educational achievement or unemployment
* Those who have legal problems
* Those who experienced child abuse or bullying (this can cause depression and sometimes lead to suicidal ideation)
* Those who have an easy access to guns, knives
* Those who are experiencing high stress
* Those who recently experience a traumatic event
What are the warning signs and symptoms?
* Depression (sad, empty mood)
* Chronic fatigue
* Changes in sleep and eating patterns
* Talking or joking about suicide
* Talking about hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness (self-hatred, self-loathing)
* Preoccupation with death
* Loss of interest in previously enjoyed [things/activities]
* Saying goodbye to people/getting affairs in order
* Self-destructive behavior (alcohol and drug abuse)
* Risk-taking behavior (reckless driving)
* Obsession with guns, knives
* Sudden sense of calm
Suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility. We can save a life.
If you are sensing signs of suicide or you know of someone who thinks he/she has a reason or is showing signs for committing suicide, here are suggestions on what we can do:
* We take it seriously and understand their feelings (it is real!)
* We have to help them NOW
* We listen
* We ask them if they are contemplating suicide (we show concern)
* We don’t leave them alone
* We remove all potential means of suicide
* We urge them to seek professional help
For professional help, one can consult with a guidance counselor (if they are in school), a social worker, a psychologist, a nurse or a medical doctor.
You may also call PMHA-Bacolod at 433-8868. We are here to help you.
Let us all speak up and reach out to prevent suicide.