DOH-Bicol: Suicide is not an option

DOH Bicol representatives discuss mental health in a recent forum in Legazpi City. (Photo: DOH Bicol)

LEGAZPI CITY--Acknowledging the rapidly increasing cases of depression in the country, Dr. Marie Angelli L. Morico, MD, a psychiatrist consultant of Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) held a short lecture on suicide and depression during the press conference held recently at the La Roca Veranda Suites and Restaurant.

Dr. Morico stressed that suicidal thoughts are signs of extreme distress and NOT a form of attention seeking. She also noted that there is an absolute need to lessen the false stigma linked with depression and suicide. The specialist emphasized awareness on the matter and encouraged those who are suffering to seek professional help.

“We should not disregard those who talk to us because it’s not a call for attention, it’s a cry for help. When somebody would verbalize, it’s because they need help. For those who experiences emotional pain, they would think suicide is an option. Our role is to not allow them to think that it is an option. Suicide should never be an option,” said Dr. Morico.

She also reiterated that suicide can be prevented because depression can be treated. To date, she is pushing for a partnership with DepEd guidance counsellors to help detect signs of depression among students and render immediate treatment at the level of school.

According to Dr. Morico, there are estimated 4.5 million Filipinos who are depressed, making it the highest record of depression in South East Asia.

Dr. Morico also noted that there might be more Filipinos suffering depression that have not been recorded because “only 1 out 3 people suffering depression will seek help.” During her presentation, she also showed that there is a growing number of young Filipinos committing suicide, wherein most of the victims are males.

As part of the efforts of the Department of Health to address the mental health issues of the country, the Mental Health Gap Action Program was established (MHGAP). This program trains Municipal Health Offices to address mental health issues in order to help prevent suicide at the community level. Currently, Bicol is considered the national model of MHGAP.

With the high demands of the world and the presence of many risk factors associated with suicide, it is undeniable that more and more are succumbing to the invisible threat, and worse of all, due to the lack of awareness, many fall victim into the false stigma that linked with mental illness.

With concerted efforts of every stakeholder, removing stigma, and through learning more about the causes of suicide and depression, everyone can learn how to fight it and avoid the permanent solution to a temporary problem.//nsau