Foundation seeks to help people on the verge of suicide

Amid news about the suicide of a student of the University of the Philippines Manila, a group has urged Filipinos undergoing depression to call them for professional help and guidance.

Suicide prevention group Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF) raised concern over suicide in the Philippines, as highlighted by the case of 16-year-old Kristel Tejada, who took her own life Mar. 15.

This, as it noted that Pinoys who are in crisis due to depression or suicide issues may now call a local hotline to talk to trained professionals who may help them.

Related story: UP Manila student takes own life

The Information Crisis and Intervention Center Hopeline is also open for callers who are not necessarily in immediate crisis but may need help to prevent a crisis from occurring or to de-escalate an ongoing one, NGF said.

"If you (or you know someone) are suffering from emotional crisis, then call the 24/7 ICIC HOPELINE for confidential, compassionate, and nonjudgmental listening," the group said in its post about Tejada Tuesday.

An analysis posted in the NGF website showed an increase in the incidence of suicide in Filipino males to 3.59 per 100,000 in 2005 from 0.23 in 1974.

A similar trend was seen among Filipino females, where 1.09 per 100,000 died by suicide in 2005 versus 0.12 in in 1974.

"When a person is pushed to the point of considering suicide, it is because living has become too painful to bear..." NGF said in its website.

It added, however, that not all individuals who feel suicidal tendencies will really kill themselves, but they "may get very close to doing it" or "put themselves in harm's way."

Also read: UP: Student's death an 'isolated case'

A condition often linked to suicide is depression, which NGF said may be caused by several physical and emotional factors.

"Although the majority of people with depression do not die by suicide, having depression does increase suicide risk compared to people without depression," the group said.

Depression is commonly characterized by sadness, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration, among others.

"These problems can become chronic or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to cope with daily life," NGF said.

But the group said most cases of depression can be treated with medication or psychotherapy.

It meanwhile stressed the need to empower individuals suffering from depression with resources, professional help and linkages.

Their families "also need to know and understand the illness to enable them to respond and provide constructive support to their love ones during these difficult times."

NGF also said noted the need for mental health to be "taught more intensively in universities and schools and that mental wellness support groups be made available to both teachers and students alike."

NGF's HOPELINE numbers are:
(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917 558 HOPE (4673)
0917 852 HOPE (4673)
2919 (toll-free number for all Globe and TM subscribers)

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