September 10, 2022
Writers: Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio, Jasmin Cyrille Tecson
Researcher: Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio, Jasmin Cyrille Tecson
Editor: Alvin Joseph Mapoy, K Ballesteros
Peer Reviewer: Alvin Joseph Mapoy
Graphics: Mitz Sabellano, Billie Fuentes, Sarah Mondoy, Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Mae Labio
Tweetchat Moderators: Allyssa Jane Q. Fincale, Ian Stephen Velez
Spaces Moderators: Azie Libanan, Alvin Joseph Mapoy, Richardson dR Mojica
Throughout the years, mental health institutions and advocates consistently promoted consciousness and understanding of the psychological well-being of society and individuals. Today, we celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) alongside the global mental health community to emphasize this matter’s importance, including minimizing the stigma, raising awareness, and addressing the world that suicide can be prevented .
In the Philippines, various mental health organizations, including #MentalHealthPH, have joined this WSPD campaign. In light of this initiative, one of the #MHPH online campaigns, #UsapTayo, delivers its message to educate and to help zero the stigma through Twitter Spaces and Tweetchats. Join us this 10th of September as we raise awareness and bring hope in light of World Suicide Prevention Day.
WHAT: CREATING HOPE THROUGH ACTION
Some people experience mental health challenges that may lead to suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Nowadays, suicide has become a relevant societal and public health concern in the mental health aspect. Before the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported worryingly high numbers of 700,000 who lost their lives to suicide every year. Globally, this incline is the fourth leading mortality cause in the lives of adolescents and young adults .
Due to these alarming rates, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) began the campaign of World Suicide Prevention Day every 10th of September. The WHO endorsed this campaign, including other countries, volunteers, and non-government organizations. WSPD is a dedicated prevention campaign with a global role in providing suicide preventive measures and awareness. Through the triennial theme for 2021-2023, “Creating Hope Through Action,” the campaign aims to strengthen awareness and empower hope by encouraging people across the globe on the importance of taking action .
WHO: A HELPING HAND
The surge of the global pandemic caused anxiety, panic, distress, and fear among people worldwide. During the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a spike of 57% in the suicide rate within the country. Because of this, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) launched hotlines for mental and psychological call concerns. The NCMH disclosed that from March to August 2020, there was a 75% increase in NCMH hotline calls, going from 400 calls a month to 700 calls .
A remote psychological health service like this was discussed by the Department of Health OIC Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergerie and local mental and psychosocial care groups to manage the psychological impacts. On top of this, many non-government organizations make their hotlines available 24/7 for free consultation and telemental health response initiatives to anyone experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Other organizations and departments also launched different preventive measures to alleviate the mental health cases, such as webinars, psychosocial support sessions, and other support and help .
Twitter and #MentalHealthPH, together with its partners: the National Center for Mental Health, Department of Mental Health Thailand, Into the Light Indonesia, Samaritans of Thailand, Befrienders Kuala Lumpur, The Samaritans of Hong Kong, and Samaritans of Singapore, also voiced their support in last year’s World Suicide Prevention Day as they talked about similarities and differences across borders in one of #UsapTayo’s session, #CreatingHopeAsia .
WHERE & WHEN: HELP IS HERE; HOPE IS LIMITLESS
As social media use increases, we often see and hear stories from people worldwide. We can connect with people with similar experiences through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few.
It has been an ongoing discussion about how social media affects our mental health in both positive and negative ways. While some might argue that social media promotes negative effects on its users, we also found out that routine use of social media can produce positive effects on our mental health .
Here are some positive effects of using social media :
- Communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world.
- Find new friends and communities; network with other people who share similar interests or ambitions.
- Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.
- Seek or offer emotional support during tough times.
- Find vital social connections if you live in a remote area, for example, or have limited independence, social anxiety, or are part of a marginalized group.
- Find an outlet for your creativity and self-expression.
- Discover (with care) sources of valuable information and learning.
Social media can be a harsh place for its users, but if used appropriately, it can be a platform that will connect and give hope to everyone.
Our role in suicide prevention is essential to help save lives. As we build a community full of hope that turns into definite actions, we can continue the line of people’s lives in the midst of difficulty and uncertainty. We can grow our communities by fostering a sense of connectivity and belongingness, where everyone feels seen and valued. Furthermore, the importance of seeking help is highlighted and always made available by our professionals, organizations, and institutions committed to extending mental health care services to everyone .
HOW: BE THE LIGHT
Let’s shed the darkness as we light the hope within us. Be someone who is a source of hope and take action to save lives. All together, let’s create hope through action .
- Reach In. Be someone who shares hope and gives care. Our part is listening to others about their experiences, present situations, and even sudden events which make a big difference in others’ lives. The efforts we offer through time and space are considered to aid, and we can make them feel that they are not alone. We may start conversations or listen to them as we create a sense of connection and hope in someone struggling.
- Share Experiences. Be someone who shares stories and inspires. Reliving a moment of struggle is a hard thing to do. In a sense, it’s like rubbing something in your wounded scars, and we understand how hard it can be to share these experiences. This is why the person sharing their story must know how to do so in a way that is safe for them and for those who hear their story. This kind of conversation will help others who are also struggling to connect. Your insights and stories can encourage others to reach out and ask for support and help for themselves.
- Encourage Understanding. Be someone who shares awareness and promotes prevention. Let’s lead the creation of a world of compassion and understanding. Through our collective voices, we can break the stigma that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Start to speak and uplift others to recognize that suicide is preventable.
Be the source of light by creating hope through action. These actions are signs that hope is alive and there will be someone, or you could be someone, who can be the hope in struggling times
Always remember, hope is here. Hope is near.
If you or someone you know needs mental health consultation, kindly refer to our directory for mental health facilities, services, and organizations around the Philippines: https://mentalhealthph.org/directory/
- Tweet your “Fight Song” and quote your favorite lyrics within that song
- What action/s from someone has helped or given you hope before?
- In what ways can you show/give hope to other people?
- How can we spread awareness about hope to the online and offline community?
- What does the word “HOPE” mean for you?
- World Health Organization. (June 2021). Suicide. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide
- World Health Organization. (n.d.). World Suicide Prevention Day 2022. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-suicide-prevention-day/2022
- International Association for Suicide Prevention. (April 2021). World suicide prevention day new theme. https://www.iasp.info/2021/04/15/world-suicide-prevention-day-new-theme/
- International Association for Suicide Prevention. (n.d.). World Suicide Prevention Day: Creating hope through action. https://www.iasp.info/wp-content/uploads/Creating-Hope-Through-Action.pdf
- Philstar. (June 2021). Pandemic year sees 57% rise in suicide rate in Philippines. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/07/06/2110596/pandemic-year-sees-57-rise-suicide-rate-philippines
- Department of Health. (June 2020). DOH: Mind your mental health; Health organizations offer remote care services. GOVPH. https://doh.gov.ph/press-release/DOH%3A-MIND-YOUR-MENTAL-HEALTH%3B-HEALTH-ORGANIZATIONS-OFFER-REMOTE-CARE-SERVICES
- World Health Organization-Western Pacific. (September 2020). DOH and WHO promote holistic mental health wellness in light of the world suicide prevention day. https://www.who.int/philippines/news/detail/10-09-2020-doh-and-who-promote-holistic-mental-health-wellness-in-light-of-world-suicide-prevention-day
- MentalHealthPH [@mentalhealthph]. (2021, September 3). Meet our partners in #CreatingHopeAsia for the #WorldSuicidePreventionDay [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/mentalhealthph/status/1433764803894411270
- National Alliance. (n.d.). Help is available; Hope is a reality. https://theactionalliance.org/messaging/entertainment-messaging/amlt
- Roeder, A. (2020, January 6). Social media use can be positive for mental health and well-being. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; The President and Fellows of Harvard College. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/social-media-positive-mental-health/
- HelpGuide.org. (n.d.). Social media and mental health. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health