From Chito Chavez
To celebrate national suicide prevention, the month of awareness in September, Quezon City promised Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte to take drastic measures to raise awareness and counter the growing trend of suicides among high-risk groups in the city.
"We will hold a series of seminars on mental health awareness for vulnerable sectors that may suffer from mental health problems, such as people experiencing severe stress at their workplace, older people experiencing a kind of crisis, and young people at risk," Belmonte said.
Data from the government revealed that at least six people commit suicide every day in the country.
In 2016 alone, 2,413 cases of suicide were registered and from 2012 to 2016 there were 237 suicides among children between 10 and 14 years old.
In a 2017 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the age-related suicide rate in the Philippines is 5.8 for men and 1.9 for women per 100,000 people.
The WHO factsheet for 2017 also mentioned suicide as the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds and 78 percent of global suicides occur in low-income or middle-income countries such as the Philippines.
Belmonte noted that the mental health awareness program will be implemented in collaboration with committed mental health professionals and will be implemented at two levels.
"At the first level, we will be giving lectures for populations that are at risk of understanding what the potential symptoms of mental disorders are, and then, at the second level, when they feel they may have these symptoms, they can consult us. so that we can refer them for counseling and treatment, "explains Belmonte.
In an interview, Belmonte pointed out that mental health should be a priority for local government, especially because mental illness is cited as the third most common form of disability in the country.
"I am sure everyone is convinced that depression can lead to suicide if no one thinks about it, it is a matter of public health and the government must step up its efforts," she added.
Aside from the mental health awareness program, Belmonte underlined the need for a suicide helpless for Quezon City and partnerships with the Sangguniang Kabataan for future projects.
Hundreds of elderly people have also received free lectures on mental health and screening through a project from the Office of the Vice Mayor.
The program is aimed at early detection and medication for elderly patients suffering from dementia, anxiety, insomnia and other problems.
"We can no longer allow our people to feel that their lives have no purpose and meaning," emphasized Belmonte.
The commemoration of this month is linked to monthly spiritual health activities that take place worldwide on the occasion of the World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September.