PSYCHOLOGISTS in Cagayan de Oro underscored on Tuesday the importance of the family’s role toward children with depression that could lead to suicide.

Psychologist Stella Ferrarez, head of the Center and Institution Division of the city government here, stressed the crucial role of family members when children are experiencing the worst in life at an early age.

"When you arrive to the point that you committed suicide that indicates that most likely that individual suffered from depression," Ferrarez told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Tuesday.

Ferrarez said this phenomenon is not limited to teens and adults alone. Children 12 years and below can, as well, fall victim to suicide.

This was exemplified by the case of a 10-year-old school boy from Misamis Oriental who tried to take his life, which drew media attention.

Reports said the grade 1 pupil attempted to end his life last June 5, allegedly prompted by the corporeal punishment inflicted on him by his teacher.

According to the child, as told by his mother, his teacher whipped his feet using a bamboo stick the day before he tried to commit suicide.

But Ferrarez said he has his doubts and suspected that this might not be the primary cause.

The morning the incident happened the kid’s mother had reprimanded his son why he would not go to school.

Problematic situations

"If ang pag-bunal sa teacher ang hinungdan sa suicide of the child, I don't believe so. Probably naka-trigger lang ang pagbunal kay mao man ang latest incident prior to the attempt of the suicide. Naa jud nay root. Pero if we are going to look at the pattern of people who committed suicide dili gyud siya at the instance nga mao ra ang rason," Ferrarez told this paper.

Ferrarez believes that the child “has long been suffering from problematic situations.”

"If he attempts to commit suicide at the age of 10, for example, the problem has been felt by the child. No individual would commit suicide right there and then without being confronted with a problematic situation," she said.

In most common situations, Ferrarez singled out environmental contributions as the root cause of the suicide. The child might be troubled with his family relationships.

"Most likely naa sa family ang problema. Naa na siyay problems about relationships with significant figures—the parents, the siblings. Wala nakuha ang proper stimulation, meaning walay adequate care, love ang nakuha niya from them," she said.

Bullying also a factor

However, it could also be that bullying happened at school.

"Bullying does not only happen at home. Sa school, especially naa kay mga delayed in the developments [of personality] so ma-bully. That would also be a factor nga ang bata all the more mag-regress," she added.

Bullying is a psychological abuse under Republic Act 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013. It comes in the form of physical harm to the child and utterance of slanderous statements or accusations which causes the victim undue emotional distress such as the use of profanities, name-calling and commenting negatively on the victims’ looks, clothes and body.

Olive Pelagio, a psychologist from the Philippine Mental Health Association, Cagayan de Oro branch, said at that age (10 years old) suicide is beyond any child's consciousness.

"At young age, we cannot really say that a child already understand (sic) the concept of suicide and its consequences; however, a lot of contributory factors may lead him to do that. He might have been exposed to such act or probably have seen such act on TV, movie or probably heard someone talk about it. Also, we might want to look at the possible triggers," Pelagio told Sun*Star in an e-mail Tuesday.