On Tuesday, March 14, a man tried to commit suicide by jumping on the tracks of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 at the Guadalupe Station.
Manila Bulletin reported that the man, aged between 25 and 30, sustained bruises all over his body and was rushed to Victor R. Potentiano Medical Center in Mandaluyong City.
The incident forced MRT to suspend its operations for a few hours and caused delay in the schedule of passengers.
Some reacted negatively, with one netizen posting this harsh comment: "Eto talaga yung nakakatakot e nakaabala ka na, na-news ka pa, di ka pa natuluyan."
If anything, this kind of attitude underlines the limited understanding of the citizenry of the very concept of suicide, particularly why it happens.
In 2013, a young man attempted to commit suicide in the same station, and succeeded.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression can drive a person to take his own life.
Depression is "a common but serious mood disorder" that does not easily go away in severe cases.
They're not the "arte-arte lang" type of depression. When not treated with medications or psychotherapy, they can lead to death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 300 million people all over the world suffer from this mental disorder.
In its 2014 global report, WHO revealed that “around 800,000 people die because of suicide, making it the second leading cause of death for people 15 to 29-year-old.”
Data from the Department of Health's National Center for Mental Health show that the suicide rate in the Philippines is 2.5 for men and 1.7 for women (per 100,000 population), the lowest suicide rate among Southeast Asian countries.
Still, the low numbers do not make it less worrisome, particularly with the seeming complacency of the Filipinos towards mental health.
A study conducted by Tristan Yuvienco, a student of the University of the Philippines, counters the notion that poverty is the leading cause of depression and mental instability among the young people in the country.
Yuvienco’s thesis cited “academic work as the biggest factor among students," followed by "family issues" and "relationship problems.”
This means depression can hit anyone.
The DOH has listed down the symptoms of depression.
These include "significant weight loss or weight gain, difficulty in sleeping or oversleeping, fatigue or loss of energy, psychomotor agitation and slowness, excessive guilt or feeling of worthlessness, diminished ability to think or concentrate or indecisiveness."
Extreme signs of depression include recurrent thoughts of deaths, and recurrent suicidal ideations.
However, these signs may not be applicable or visible to some people suffering from depression.
Here are five things we can do to help someone suffering from depression:
1. Reach out.
If you know anyone showing the symptoms, talk to him or her.
2. Spend time with them.
It's not easy for someone suffering from depression or anxiety to open their hearts out. Be patient.
3. Keep the negativity away.
5. Engage in activities that will spark their interest.
Activities such as sports, yoga, or even arts and crafts can help distract a person suffering from depression.
4. Seek the help of professionals.
DOH together with WHO and the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation have launched a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline called 'Hopeline.'
This project aims to help people suffering from depression with the help of counselors and mental health professionals. Their hotline numbers are (02) 804-4637; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.