Suicide rate in Iloilo alarms IPPO

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

ONE life lost is one too many.

The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) has expressed alarm over incidents of suicide, especially involving youngsters.

While mental health might not be on top of their priority, IPPO said it would assess what could the police do to lessen the suicide incidents in the province.

Police Colonel Roland Vilela, Iloilo police chief, said he was disturbed by the fact that four youngsters died of apparent suicide since he assumed his post last September 3.

During a recent command conference with chiefs of police, Vilela instructed them on what the police could do to prevent these incidents.

“Do we need to talk to the teachers to include the topic of mental health in school lectures? Should we ask the PTAs to be our audience to discuss this concern? Do we need to do lectures among students? We have been considering these efforts to abate the rising suicide cases,” he said.

Vilela said they are also considering putting up signage to direct the public where to call if they want someone to talk to.

IPPO records showed that suicide incidents were recorded since January 2019.

The latest was a teenage girl from Calinog who allegedly hanged herself to death on Sept. 15.

Prior to this, a 16-year-old girl from Passi City and a 17-year-old boy from Janiuay town also died of suicide.

Records from the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) showed that Iloilo province topped the list of suicide incidents in Western Visayas.

In 2017, PRO-6 recorded 171 suicide incidents and 201 cases the following year.

Still, Iloilo province topped the most 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).

(Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)