THE Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) has reminded parents to be more vigilant while observing their children's behavior and to give them enough time to talk about their problems.
This came following the death of a 15-year-old Grade 10 student who allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the 19th floor of a high-rise condominium in Barangay Banilad on Wednesday morning, February 7, 2024.
Lieutenant Colonel Mercy Villaro, MCPO spokesperson, said the 15-year-old girl, a resident of the condominium, initially left their unit around 6 a.m. She reportedly informed her stepmother that she would go to school, but her parents were later surprised to hear the news of her death about an hour later, or around 7:10 a.m.
Villaro said one of the barangay councilors in the area alerted them of what happened and they immediately sent the police response.
The victim and her family occupy a unit located on the condominium's seventh floor.
According to Villaro, the minor was seen climbing alone to the higher floors of the building until she jumped upon reaching the 19th floor. The event was captured by the establishment's CCTV footage.
Villaro said that based on their initial investigation, the victim had been absent from school since January 29 and it was only Wednesday, February 7, that she was supposed to report back to school.
According to initial reports, one of her teachers allegedly called her on January 30 to inquire about her absence, and the teenager replied that it was due to some sort of a family problem she was going through.
Though unable to respond to queries due to shock from what happened, the student’s parents told authorities that they never found anything suspicious on the latter's actions in the past few days.
Villaro said they are yet to determine what triggered the minor to commit the act.
Talk to children
Villaro reminded parents to spend time talking to their children and be mindful if they are displaying a change in their behaviors, particularly being anxious or sad, which are early signs of depression.
Depression is a mental disorder where people feel a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which stops them from doing their normal activities. As a person's depressive disorder worsens and remains unattended by his or her loved ones, it could lead him or her to commit suicide.
Villaro also called on school personnel, particularly the teachers and guidance counselors, to be sensitive enough and take those children opening up to dealing with depression and other problems seriously and immediately seek professional help for them.
She also suggested that teachers coordinate with the children's parents to deal with the matter.
"Children dealing with this (depression) really need someone to talk to," said Villaro.
Villaro added that for the MCPO, the office has constantly conducted assemblies for their stakeholders, including schools, to provide awareness of and importance of mental health, especially to students.
The program is part of their goal to strengthen police-community relations.
SunStar Cebu tried reaching out to the Department of Education Central Visayas for comments regarding the matter but to no avail.
Individuals suffering from depression and needing assistance may call the following numbers:
* HopeLine Hotlines at (02) 804-HOPE (4673); 0917 558 HOPE (4673); and 2919 (toll-free number for all GLOBE and TM subscribers).
* DOH suicide prevention hotlines: