By: Jennifer P. Rendon
MYRNA (not her real name) was about to bring breakfast to her 17-year-old nephew on Saturday (September 14) when she saw through the window gap a body hanging from their ceiling.
A short check confirmed her fear: the teenager committed suicide by hanging.
The boy was living at a relative’s house in Janiuay, Iloilo following a conflict with his father.
Just like most suicide cases involving youth, family problem allegedly drove the victim to take his own life, or so the family thought.
Although love problem and family conflict are the top reasons for suicide incidents, some advocates believed that hidden mental illness is a big factor in these cases.
The 17-year-old boy’s case is one of the more than a hundred suicide incidents in the region.
In fact, from January to August 2019, the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) already recorded 128 suicide cases with Iloilo province on top of the list with 43 incidents.
Capiz has 26, Negros Occidental with 23, Bacolod City and Guimaras province with 9 each, Antique and Iloilo City with 7 each; and Aklan with 4.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, PRO-6 spokesperson, is not discounting the possibility that there are other suicide incidents which were not reported to police authorities.
In 2017, PRO-6 recorded 171 suicide incidents and 201 cases the following year.
Iloilo province also topped the most of cases with 59 incidents in 2017 and 73 in 2018.
Since 2013, the World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is being observed every September 10 to promote awareness in a bid to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world.
In the Philippines, it was deemed that the passage of Republic Act 11036 (The Mental Health Law) could address growing concerns on mental health and suicide incidents.
The law proposes a mental health policy that aims to enhance integrated mental health services, the promotion of mental health services, protection of people who use said services, and the establishment of a Philippine mental health council.
The Department of Health has established suicide prevention hotlines in the country.
For those who need help, they could call 0917-899-8727 (USAP) and 0917-989-8727 (USAP).