Depression photo (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao)
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos should extend support to their friends and loved ones with suicidal tendencies and avoid trivializing mental disorders.
According to the Department of Health (DOH,) suicide is preventable as long as one does not dismiss a person’s depression. The agency explained that depression is a period of sadness that lasts for two weeks and more which causes a person to lose interest in activities once enjoyed.
Health Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle said a depressed person would also prefer to be left alone and have thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
“Almost 90+ percent, may warning signs iyan (have warning signs)…If people start to withdraw from the usual activity or always isolating themselves or even expressing the thought. So it is very important na iyong (that the) companion or family member be aware na ito (that these are) warning signs ng (of) suicide ito,” said Valle
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 800,000 people die yearly from suicide worldwide. It is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 years old.
In the Philippines, more than 2,500 suicide deaths were recorded in 2012 and the DOH is working to prevent this from increasing by opening a hope or suicide hotline.
Since its launch in 2016, they received more than 7,000 calls from depressed persons and 44% of them belong to the age group 13 to 29 years old.
DOH also advised the public to seek help and intervention for people who have signs of depression and history of suicide attempts.
The appeal comes after the high-profile deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, both of whom have battled depression prior to their deaths.
“It’s a complex issue but it is preventable…It’s really a sad thing, you think people have everything but if you don’t pay attention, you’ll miss the warning signs,” said Valle.
As of now, the agency continues to monitor “Hopeline” to check the callers’ condition and prevent any suicide attempts. – Aiko Miguel
Measles outbreak declared in San Roque, N. Samar
NORTHERN SAMAR, Philippines – A measles outbreak was recently declared in the municipality of San Roque following the deaths of two minors last week.
Department of Health (DOH) regional head for epidemiology and surveillance, Boyd Roderick Cerro, said that even though there are existing cases of measles infection in other areas in the region, the case of the two siblings who died recently warrants the declaration of an outbreak.
“Masasabi nating ito ay outbreak kung clustered by time, by place, and by person sa isang pamilya. Epidemiologically may relationship kasi makikitang nagkahawa-hawa na sila,” Cerro explained.
Measles is a viral infection that primarily targets the respiratory system. It is highly contagious that can spread through the air through coughing and sneezing and through contact with infected mucus and saliva. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat followed by a rash that spreads over the body.
Cerro noted that there is no drug available to cure measles but the infection can be prevented through vaccination.
“Pabakunahan nila ang mga anak nila ng measles vaccine kasi napatunayan na ito at matagal nang ginagamit ng Department of Health, certified ng WHO na safe ang bakunang ito,” he assured.
The DOH is set to hold a special immunization activity within the region to curb the spread of measles infection. – Archyl Egano / Marje Pelayo
Suicide prompts mental health education to newly hired teachers in Leyte
LEYTE, Philippines – Following the recent suicide of a rookie teacher in Eastern Visayas, the Department of Education (DepEd) Leyte Division recommends equipping newly hired teachers with mental health education.
According to DepEd-Leyte Assistant Division Superintendent Edgar Tenasas, this will prepare new hires of what to expect throughout the course of his or her all-encompassing job as a teacher.
“The region has a plan to consider giving our teachers the so-called mental health education. Somewhat like giving our teachers the knowledge. Or perhaps how are we going to combat if we will be affected because of the work that we have,” said Tenasas.
Aside from mental health education, the Regional office also plans to establish a pre-orientation and transition program prior to deployment of rookie teachers.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Thursday (July 19) urged the DepEd to unload public school teachers of piles of paper works.
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio suggested to the government to add non-teaching personnel who would accomplish the paper works for teachers who usually handle up to four classes.
“Sa kalagayan sa Pilipinas, halos wala po tayong Education Support personnel. Si teacher ay nagiging teacher, registrar, gumagampan bilang nurse, guidance counsellor, gumagampan ng samo’t saring trabaho. Dagdag pa diyan iyong napakaraming forms, paperworks na kaniyang ginagawa na maaari namang gawin ng isang clerk ng eskelwelahan,” explained Basilio.
Teacher Emilou Malate of Bagacay West Primary School took her life on July 14 due to depression as she could no longer handle stress and her load as a multi-grade teacher.
Her friends launched a Facebook page seeking justice for Emilou’s death. They also call on DepEd to assign school heads in public schools who have compassion and consideration to his or her colleagues. – Archyl Egano / Marje Pelayo
DOH warns of upsurge in dengue, leptospirosis infections amid nonstop rains
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) sees spike in the number of dengue and leptospirosis cases following the series of downpours that caused flooding in some areas.
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, reported leptospirosis cases have reached 623 from January 1 to July 14 this year with 68 deaths.
While dengue cases rose to 8,223 which is 17% higher than the reported cases in the same period last year.
“This rainy season of the last 2- 3 days, we expect again an upsurge in the number of leptospirosis and dengue cases…It’s always alarming if we have deaths so certainly because we have reported deaths,” Duque said.
The DOH previously declared an outbreak on leptospirosis in 29 villages in Metro Manila. Most of the cases were reported in Quezon City which reached 201.
In order to prevent any increase in the said number and to make the residents aware of the symptoms and prevention of dengue and leptospirosis, Duque made rounds in some flooded villages on Wednesday (July 18).
Secretary Duque reminds the public to seek medical consultation when symptoms appear instead of just taking doxycycline as this may lead to antimicrobial resistance.
“So kung hindi naman nalusong sa baha, wala ring epekto naman. Mahirap lang baka magkaroon pa ng antimicrobial resistance which is something that we would like to avoid.”
Duque further advises the public to seek a doctor’s advice on the correct antibiotic to use because doxycycline is not suitable to be taken by everyone such as pregnant women. – UNTV News and Rescue