Albay police chief cites 'alarming' number of suicide cases in blotters

A ranking official of the Albay Provincial Police Office (PPO) expressed alarm over the cases of suicide being recorded by their office that would require “immediate intervention.”

Chief Insp. Arthur Gomez, chief investigator of Albay PPO, said in 2016, they were able to record 24 cases of suicide.

He said even as they are still consolidating their records on the number of suicide cases from January to April this year, “which Albay PPO believes are still alarming,” another case of suicide was reported last April 22.

Gomez said the case involved a 24-year-old resident of Barangay Libod in Camalig town who shot himself in front of his girlfriend who lives in Barangay Poblacion, Guinobatan town, also in Albay.

“Investigators said the girl broke up with the suicide victim which prompted him to take his life,” he said.

Gomez said there were 21 males and three females from among the 24 recorded cases of suicide in 2016.

“Among the victims, 18 were single, two were married while four were widows,” he said.

Gomez said eight of the suicide incidents were attributed to emotional problems, four--mental disorder, two--health problems, two-—family problems while eight other cases were for unknown reasons that were not communicated by the victims.

He noted that they even recorded a victim who was a regular employee of the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“The employee committed suicide inside their house a few weeks ago,” he said.

Gomez said Sr. Supt. Antonino Cirujales, director of Albay PPO, has put in place a program that could serve as an “intervention measure” to combat depression.

Mental health experts said depression, which is characterized by long periods of sadness and social withdrawal, can make a person unproductive and at worst lead to suicide.

According to Gomez the police chief of Albay has ordered all of the chiefs of police in the 15 municipalities and 3 cities of the province to coordinate with their local municipal health offices or rural health units, social welfare officers and barangay officers so “interventions” could be put in place on the cases of depression.

“They should find out who among the residents in the barangay (village) have ‘full-blown’ depression and may tend to commit suicide,” he added.

Dr. Evy Sarmiento told a forum on depression that was initiated by the Department of Health-Bicol early this month that “attention should be given to adolescents and young adults; women of child-bearing age; and older adults or those over 60 years old.”

Sarmiento, who is head of DOH-Bicol’s Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and Control or NCDPC cluster units, said these age groups are the most prone to being affected by depression.

“It is important to find the root cause of depression of those affected,” she said.

Depression is one of the priority conditions covered by WHO’s “Mental Health Gap” action program which DOH-5 has been implementing in the various provinces in the region over the last two years, Windalyn Baluis, coordinator of DOH-Bicol’s mental health program under the NCDPC cluster, said in a separate interview.

She said through the program mental health patients in the communities, particularly those who are indigent, get access to proper care, psychosocial assistance and free medication from public health doctors and health workers.

“DOH-5 provides continuing technical assistance to all public health doctors and health workers in the region to enhance their assessment and management of the patients in their communities,” said Baluis. (by Jorge Hallare, PNA)
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