Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa is a staunch advocate of mental health awareness.

Kylie Verzosa: Let’s talk and save a life from suicide
WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2017 - 4:00pm

World Mental Health Day was celebrated last October 10. That same week, talks about depression and suicide were trending. While recent studies do reveal that suicide rates here in the Philippines are indeed on the rise, I do not need statistics to realize that the problem of depression and suicide is getting worse.

We can’t dismiss a person’s suicidal thoughts as their way of getting noticed. We cannot ignore people who are depressed only because we can’t understand the cause of their anxieties.

To help prevent people around us from taking their own lives, we should learn to recognize the warning signs of suicide.

In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death in people from age 10 to 34. In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 43,000 suicides from 1.3-million attempted suicides. They further declared that 90 percent of those who die by suicide have clinical depression or other mental disorders.

They added that alcohol or substance abuse is present in majority of the cases. Traumatic life events, combined with clinical depression, may lead to suicide.

What are the red flags we should be aware of? Do you detect deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping, eating disorders that get worse by the day? Is the person always talking or thinking of death? Is the person losing interest in things he used to be passionate about? 

Is the person taking more risks like driving too fast? Does he say he is hopeless, helpless or worthless? Is there a sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or happy? Does the person have a past attempt to commit suicide?

What should you do? Experts warn that you should never argue with a person contemplating suicide. They need someone who will listen, not judge. The best is to bring him to a mental health professional.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 20 percent of the world’s children and adolescents have mental disorders with half of the cases starting before the age of 14. They also noted increasing reports of depression, bullying, teenage pregnancy as well as alcohol and drug abuse.

In a WHO 2011 Philippine study, it was revealed that 16 percent of children between the ages of 13 and 15 have seriously considered attempting suicide during the previous year while 13 percent have actually attempted suicide.

One celebrity who is a staunch advocate of mental health awareness is Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa. She posted in Instagram recently her thoughts on depression:

“This is exactly the reason why I advocate awareness of mental health, most especially depression. Depression is a real sickness. It is the number one cause of suicide if left untreated. Not only has the rate of suicide been increasing, the age range has been getting younger (15-29), too. I’m sure you’ve heard your local stories. Many people suffer in silence, because of the stigma attached and people still ignorant about it. It is nothing to be ashamed of. ‘Let’s Talk’ is a campaign allowing others to speak up about their sickness, acknowledgement is the first step towards healing. And by listening, you just may be able to save a life. Also, proud survivor over here.”

My son was diagnosed as clinically depressed. Thankfully, we recognized it early on. We acknowledged it and we sought help.

Looking back, I wonder how different things would be if I did not try to understand him. If I dismissed his condition and stuck to my rigid plan for him.

The first step is always awareness. Sometimes we are too busy and tired, we stop being there for people who really matter to us. We convince ourselves that we are working very hard to give our family a comfortable life but unknowingly, we rob them of the comfort of having a nurturing environment.

Sometimes we believe that we know what is best, only to find out that we have been blind to what is far better.

* * *

Post me a note at mylene@goldsgym.com.ph or mylenedayrit@gmail.com.

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