By Gabrielle Ariadne Aguilar and Princess Lacorte/AdDU Interns
THE PHILIPPINE Mental Health Association Davao urged barangays to initiate mental health campaigns after noticing a spike in suicide cases in the region in the first quarter of the year.
PMHA Davao consultant Precious Manliguez said 53 suicide cases were reported in 2022. However, that figure was already surpassed when they recorded 23 cases from January to April alone.
The victims’ ages ranged from 11-71 years old.
The City Health Office and the PMHA held a stakeholders’ meeting last March to try to address the problem.
“It was a brainstorming affair na kung asa nakit’an namo na tanan diay sector, adunay say sa suicide (It was a brainstorming affair where we found that all sectors had something to say about suicide),” Manliguez said.
The sectors identified multiple components that could lead to suicide, including the lack of social support, employment, unemployment, inability to provide for their families, and mental disorders.
Manliguez said six barangays in the city have an alarming number of suicide cases, leading her to push community involvement prioritizing mental health programs.
The group recognized that although barangays are gradually accepting the discussion of mental health, not everyone is open to including mental health campaigns in their programs. For instance, they assumed they had to pay for resource speakers or that gathering participants and stakeholders would be challenging.
“I think it’s a big leap kung tanan barangay unta sa dakbayan sa Davao, musuporta sa ingani nga program (I think it’s a big leap if all barangays in Davao City could support this type of program),” Manliguez added.
She further emphasized that prevention is still critical before a situation escalates into a mental health disorder. Therefore, they would pilot prevention programs in barangays with high suicide cases. The group is partnering with the City Health Office to strategize and fan mental health campaigns out at the grassroots level.
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