Suicide is an issue that is very close to my heart. Almost ten years ago, an ex-boyfriend took his own life. While we were no longer together at the time and we both had moved on from our relationship, the incident had a tremendous impact on me. Back then, I thought my experience was unique. But through the years, I learned that it was not such an isolated case. Every other person I know has lost a loved one to suicide.
This year was replete with suicide news. My heart broke at each and every one. And when I heard about Robin Williams’ death, I thought, these deaths have got to stop! And I know it can be stopped, if only people would seek help, if only they knew how, if only they were not ashamed to do so.
So the idea for The Scoop on Suicide, was born. The objective: Suicide prevention by raising awareness about depression.
In the three days that I worked on organizing the Scoop on Suicide, I found out that a lot of people around me are battling or have battled depression. Hearing that made me happy. No, I am not happy that they are carrying the burden of the disorder. I am happy that they KNOW they have depression, that they are being treated, and more than anything, that they are talking about it. Because really, I think that it is the stigma that lets depression kill us. People don’t seek help, they don’t talk about the problem, because of the stigma. This stigma gets in the way of fighting depression and suicide. I’d like to believe that Scoop on Suicide is a small step towards kicking the stigma and allowing information on depression to get around. It may be small, but it is a step, nonetheless. I am grateful that I found several individuals who were willing to take that step with me.
If not for these three lady speakers, there would not have been information to share.
Dr. Dinah Nadera is a Psychiatrist and Consultant for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Office of the World Health Organization Representative for the Philippines. She revealed some statistics (global and local) on suicide and briefed us all on depression. According to her presentation, depression is a common mental disorder characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. It can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide. When mild, people can be treated without medicines. When depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and non-pharmacological treatments.
Malyn Cristobal is an addiction counselor and founder of Living Free Foundation. She described the relationship between substance use and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. To learn more, you may log on to www.livingfreefoundationph.com or you may reach Malyn via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Petra Maierhofer practises Occupational Therapy and Solution Focused Brief Therapy. She is with In Touch Community Services, the group which runs Crisis Line. For free and confidential telephone counseling, the Crisis Line may be reached at (02) 8937603, (0917) 8001123 or (0922) 8938944. In Touch Community Services also offers face-to-face sessions. To know more about how they can help, visit their website, www.in-touch.org.
Writers May Corpuz and Ann Kuy were also part of this project. May, who is based in Bangkok came up with the phrases Scoop on Suicide and Deconstructing Depression. Ann Kuy wasn’t able to make it to the event but she was with me every step of the way and was the one who made me decide to go for it. Aileen Carreon of Vision and Image Publicity Network reached out to her friends in media and added to the roster of guests.
Let’s keep the discussion going! For inquiries on the next round of The Scoop on Suicide, email email@example.com