Group notes rising suicide cases in Davao City

Photo from Neanie Syndee P. Tabunan, AdDU Intern
Photo from Neanie Syndee P. Tabunan, AdDU Intern

THE Philippine Mental Health Association (PHMA) - Davao Chapter observed an increase in the number of suicide cases in Davao City from 2016 to 2022, with a similar trend observed across other provinces in the Davao Region.

Data from PHMA showed that in 2022 there were 53 cases recorded, with 13 years old being the youngest and 71 being the oldest.

In 2023, from January to April, there were already 26 suicide cases in the same age range.

However, the organization was not able to present its 2016 data.

PMHA-Davao Chapter Executive Manager Teolifo S. Limikid said the recent pandemic may have triggered the increase in suicide cases in recent years.

He said the common causes of suicide cases are underlying mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, among others. Lack of social support, poor economic status, peer pressure, and bullying are also causes of suicide.

In a bid to help prevent more suicide cases from happening, PHMA-Davao held a two-day awareness seminar on May 4 to 5 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rizal St., Poblacion District.

The key stakeholders of this event were the City Health Office and its staff together with the Health Section Personnel and the Mental Health Coordinators from the Department of Education in Davao Region (DepEd-Davao).

Speakers from PMHA and Olive Branch Wellbeing Center discussed the importance of mental health, concrete statistics of suicide cases for the past and current years, and possible prevention and intervention methods.

Llewelyn Issa B. Dela Cruz, the program manager of PMHA, said they try to focus more on the general population to emphasize the need for prevention and promotion of mental health awareness.

“Kasi yun talaga gusto namin eh. Hindi natin iintayin yung tao na magkaroon ng sakit, na magsuffer from the issues or the problems that they have, but to equip them and they need to learn how to care for their mental health. Rather than yung kailan sila may sakit, tiyaka kami nandoon (This is what we really intended to do. We will not wait for a person to get sick first or have them suffer from their personal issues or problems. Rather, we want to equip them with the appropriate skills to learn how to care for their mental health. Instead of taking the necessary steps the moment they get sick),” Dela Cruz said.

Precious S. Manliguez, a mental health consultant for both PMHA-Davao Chapter and the COVID-19 Operation Center, underscored the importance of psychosocial support as a way for suicide prevention.

“Bisag dili psychologist, makahatag ug psychosocial support. Active listening skills or showing your empathy, that’s already a skill na pwede nimo himuon maskin dili ka licensed. However, magundergo jud tag training para mas mahasa in responding (Even if people are not psychologists, they can still give psychosocial support. Active listening skills or showing your empathy, are already skills that you can have, even if you are not licensed. However, one must undergo training to be better in responding to such cases),” she said.

Teofilo S. Limikid, PMHA’s Chapter Executive Manager, said they have been doing these types of seminars in the communities for quite some time.

“This is one of the biggest. This is one of the most important because the audience are the those in the frontlines. These are the frontlines of health like DepEd. The Health Section Personnel, the Mental Health Coordinators, and also the City Health. I’m saying that this is significant because frontline has a bigger role in promoting health. When we say promotion of health to students or to the communities, it’s not only about physical health. So meaning to say, you have to include mental health in educating the public”, he stated.

Moving forward, the PMHA - Davao Chapter intends to partner with other agencies in the future to broaden the scope of information about mental health and suicide prevention. They also have an existing partnership with the City Government Covid-19 Operation Center - Psychosocial Support that offers services such as psychiatric consultation, counseling, and group therapy.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please consider reaching out to the nearest suicide hotline for support. You may use the following numbers: 1553 for Luzon-wide (toll-free), 09663514518/09178998727 for Globe or TM subscribers, and 09086392672 for Smart, Sun, or TNT subscribers. (Neanie Syndee P. Tabunan, AdDU Intern)

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