Family members, friends, and officemates of schoolteacher Paul Esguerra were worried sick when he went missing for several days some weeks ago. After a series of cryptic posts, Paul announced his return on his Facebook account, saying he has “come back from the dead.”
Esguerra's last status update before deactivating his Facebook account.
While he bluntly said that he would not answer “BS or insensitive questions,” some of his friends called out people giving insensitive remarks about his sudden disappearance.
Suicide is no joke, and whether feelers about it come in the form of cryptic posts on social media, or is largely felt through the person's aura, you should always take notice and take action. Because it is never "wala lang 'yan." How serious is this matter? Here are a few facts:
1. The number of suicide cases has increased significantly over the years. While the Philippines has an average suicide rate of 2.6 per 100,000 in 2012 according to a WHO report, suicide rates have significantly increased in the past 20 years, especially in the youth sector. “Suicides of younger people and of women are a recent and growing problem in many countries,” a WHO report explains. Factors causing people to commit suicide include stress at work and woes caused by love.
2. Even celebrities and their kin are vulnerable. Suicide can affect anyone, no matter your social class. Julia Buencamino, daughter of veteran actors Nonie and Sharmaine Buencamino, committed suicide and left a note in her blog. Multi-awarded Hollywood actor Robbie Williams, best known for movies like Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting, hung himself almost three years ago. Julia's message in her note couldn't be more helpful: “Be kind to yourselves."
3. Our government has acknowledged the need to raise suicide awareness. It has strengthened further its suicide awareness advocacy, following the death of a government official last year. Aside from creating a mental health law, the government has also launched a hotline Filipinos who are in the brink of taking their own lives can call to get help.
[related: In Focus: Here's Why We Should Take Mental Health More Seriously]
A collaboration with the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation and the National Center for Mental Health, anyone can contact the following numbers for a phone-based counseling service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a weeks:
Information and Crisis Intervention Center
+63917-558HOPE (4673) or +632-2114550
+63917-852HOPE (4673) or +632-9646876
+63917-842HOPE (4673) or +632-9644084
In Touch Crisis Lines:
+63917-572HOPE or +632-2111305
+632-8937603 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
Globe +63917-8001123 or +632-5067314
Sun +63922-8938944 or +632-3468776
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