Editorial: Depression claims another

THE news was fed to us via private message.

"The President of (organization) just committed suicide due to depression. Please Tackle AGAIN how serious depression is. More power Sunstar Davao," the SunStar Davao follower messaged.

We agree. Depression is not something we should be scoffing at or belittling, and the person is right, the topic is about depression and not the personality.

Browsing through the young victim's twits, we see depression and the suicide thoughts. But what is alarming is that, no one was engaging him in conversation about what he is going through. Most of the twits are "stand-alones," no engagement by and with anyone not even retweets to call attention on a status.

Indeed, hindsight is 20/20, and so as we review the young man's twits, we see a cry that went unheeded.

Thoughts of suicide were apparent in many posts, heartrending posts that wished he was aborted by his mother and of being added by a friend to a Life Group, which aims to fight depression, "but I am planning to create Suicide group haha okay bye", being "pissed af with my life", and having a friend told off by someone else that, "di nagpapaalam ang nagpapakamatay" when the friend sought help to check on the victim after his failed first attempt.

There was a also a retweeted exchange between @Dreaaceline and @Yolanda12000, where @DReaaceline wrote: "Parents spot fake friends wayyyyy before we do." To which @Yolanda12000 replied: "But they can't spot depression. "

Not knowing the young man, we feel the loneliness, especially because of the lack of interaction, and even when there are, the seeming superficiality of the exchanges.

We cannot stress hard and long enough that depression is a mental condition that can be healed, but intervention is a must.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 3,298,652 people are living with depression in the Philippines. The Department of Health's mental health crisis hotline, Hopeline, lists depression as its number one reason for the call. For 2016, Hopeline listed 605 out of 3,479 calls received to be about depression.

The DOH with the WHO, and Natasha Goulbourn Foundation launched Hopeline, a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline in September 2016. Hopeline may be reached at (02) 804-4637; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.

While websites and professionals are calling out to those feeling depressed to seek out help, even offering hotlines that they can reach, the depressed will not always reach out. Thus, there is our individual responsibility to look out for our friends and reach out if there are signs of depression.

A simple engagement like, "You need an ear?" or "Anything I can do to help?" can go a long way. Seeing how the young these days take to social media to give a glimpse of what they are going through, a comment of concern will help. But beyond that, there must be a follow up direct message (DM) or personal message (PM), to show that you really care and are there to listen.

Depression is real, and it can kill as many who have fallen in deep already had. Let us not turn our backs on anyone who is going through at his difficult time.

Do not expect the depressed to seek you out for help, sit down with him and listen. Sometimes, all it takes is companionship. And then, open the discussion about seeking professional help. Being a mental illness, professional help is needed to help the afflicted get over his mental state.
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