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Mental health awareness important in preventing suicide

17 July 2017 5:51 AM
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THE recent suicides in Cebu has prompted the Department of Health (DOH) to strengthen awareness on mental health issues, the signs of an impending suicide and how this can be possibly averted.

Erika Datan, assistant mental health program coordinator of DOH-7, said there are many persons suffering from acute depression and if left alone, could take upon themselves to end their lives.

“You are not alone in this battle. Reveal what you feel and do not keep it for yourself. It (suicide) is not the only way and not the solution to a problem,” she advised the public.

Datan said many of this generation have very low pain threshold and tolerance.

“That’s why all they can think is immediate gratification dayon which is suicide,” Datan added.

She also appeals to media and the public who witnessed the suicide live-streamed on Facebook not to publicize full details how it was done.

“Those details can trigger and give others ideas how to commit it (suicide),” Datan added.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), there is one suicide case every forty seconds and close to 800,000 people die every year because of suicide.

Signs of suicidal tendencies include history of suicidal attempts, depression, sleeping and eating disorders.

In order to maintain a healthy mind, Datan advised regular exercise, eight hours of sleep and a healthy diet to produce happy hormones and relaxation.

Some people express their thoughts and feelings through social media. What can one do when a depressed person posts on his social media sites what he feels or jokes about suicide?

“You can message him and ask about what happened. They need people who care for them and those who are willing to listen to them,” Datan said.

According to WHO, suicide prevention includes reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications); reporting by media in a responsible way; introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress; training of nonspecialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behavior; and follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.

DOH-7 provides training to community-based nurses and doctors in order to help them detect people who are suffering from mental disorder.

“At least maka-provide og medical help sa community level and there is no need to refer these patients to tertiary hospitals,” Datan added.

DOH-7 has a P9-million budget for psychotropic medicines in Central Visayas, but local government units (LGUs) need to submit how many patients they have to avoid wastage of budget.

Datan said they will also continue to coordinate with stakeholders like Department of Education (Deped-7), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd-7) and Coalition for Better Education (CBE) to reach their campaign on mental health awareness.


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