DOH calls for increased awareness vs. depression after Razorback drummer’s suicide

Marje Pelayo   •   January 17, 2019   •   4356

Razorback drummer Brian Velasco. | Courtesy: Brian Velasco FB

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday (January 17) issued a statement calling on the public to help spread awareness against depression following the apparent suicide of drummer Brian Velasco of the ‘90s hard rock band, Razorback.

The 41-year-old drummer fell to his death on Wednesday (January 16) from the 34th floor roof deck of the City Land Tower in Vito Cruz, Malate, Manila, according to a report from Malate Police Station.

He broadcasted his suicide live on Facebook which went viral on social media.

The DOH in its statement calls on the public “to stop sharing the tragic video” in respect to the grieving family.

Instead, the department encourages the public “to start talking about depression to end the stigma surrounding mental health because when left unattended, it (depression) can lead to suicide.”

According to the DOH, about 3.3 million Filipinos suffer from depressive disorder with suicide rate higher in males at 2.5 and 1.7 females per 100,000.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said 800,000 people die every year due to suicide and it is considered the second leading cause of death among individuals age 15 to 49 years old in the world.

The DOH encourages anyone who is suffering from depression or in need of help, to report to the agency’s 24-hour suicide prevention hotline numbers (02) 804-4673; 0917-5584673 or send a SMS to 2919 for globe and TM subscribers. — Marje Pelayo

DOH agrees with FDA decision to ban Dengvaxia in Phl

Maris Federez   •   August 22, 2019

A Filipino nurse prepares to administer an anti-dengue vaccine during a nationwide vaccination at a school in the flood-prone city of Marikina, east of Manila, Philippines, 04 April 2016. (Photoville International / FILE)

The Department of Health (DOH) has rejected the request of Sanofi Pasteur to overturn the decision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of Dengvaxia vaccine in the Philippines.

With this, the DOH approved the ruling of the FDA to permanently revoke the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia for Sanofi’s failure to submit the necessary post-approval requirements.

“The decision concerns Sanofi’s complete disregard of FDA regulations, which were precisely put in place by law to ensure safety,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

Although Sanofi was able to submit the first two versions of its risk management plans (RMP), the pharmaceutical company failed to submit the third and final version of the plan.

The DOH said, however, that Sanofi may apply for a new certificate of product registration (CPR) for Dengvaxia but this must be in accordance with the FDA regulations.

“Given that Dengvaxia is an innovative drug, the importance of complying with these post-marketing commitments is critical to public safety,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the department has assured that it continues to address the increasing cases of dengue in the country. /mbmf

Police, military hospitals on standby amid national dengue alert

Marje Pelayo   •   July 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has tapped the service of military hospitals amid following the declaration of national dengue alert.

According to DOH Spokesperson Eric Domingo, they have asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be on standby in case the number of dengue cases increases beyond government hospitals’ capacity.

“Ang PNP at ang AFP natin may mga hospitals din naman sila and we have to network with them in case na talagang dumami ang pasyente (The PNP and the AFP also have hospitals and we have to network with them in case the number of patients increases),” Domingo said.

“Halimbawa may mga lugar na malayo sa amin tapos sila may hospital maari kaming makipagtulungan para ma- admit din ang mga pasyente sa mga hospitals nila (There are certain areas beyond our reach where military hospitals are located. We can ask for help to admit the patients there in their hospitals),” he added.

On Wednesday (July 17), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III met with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Health Cluster to discuss measures to curb the sudden rise of dengue infections in the country.

The DOH is in cooperation with other agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in implementing actions in schools to prevent dengue, in educating the public on the dangers of dengue infection, and in coordinating with the local government units in destroying potential breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in different areas in the country.

“Kailangan talaga sa schools maglinis tayo, ma- educate natin iyong children at iyong parents kung paano iyong dapat natin gawin to prevent itong dengue at tsaka meron tayong changes sa mga patakaran sa school, (We need to have regularly clean up drive in schools and we need to educate the children and the parents on what to do to prevent dengue. Also, we have changes in school regulations,)” the DOH Spokesperson said.

Likewise, among the agencies’ action plans include designation of additional hospital rooms for dengue patients through Philippine Red Cross and the construction of extra hospital tents which can be used for emergency.

Domingo stressed the need to always be alert in providing the medical needs of dengue patients in order to prevent further deaths caused by dengue infection this year.

The DOH advises households to dispose stagnant water and dirty containers where dengue mosquitoes may breed.

Install protections such as window and door screens.

Likewise, do not let your child play or come near areas where mosquitoes are breeding.

Maganda pa rin talaga naka- pantalon at long sleeves ang mga bata para hindi siya makakagat ng lamok (It is better to have your child wear long pants and long sleeves to prevent mosquito bites),” Domingo advised.

The DOH, as always, reminds the public to immediately bring the patient to the nearest hospital if symptoms of dengue manifest.

The agency can be reached through the DOH hotline numbers 711-1001 and 711-1002 for inquiry about dengue. — with reports from Aiko Miguel

Are suicidal thoughts contagious?

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 5, 2019

Image by Лечение Наркомании from Pixabay

There is a touch of lightness in the air as sun rays peek through the trees. Each step has a sound which carries a sense of peacefulness. There is calm.

But suddenly, all the lights go out. Nothing remains, not even darkness.

Without any warning, a person can experience an episode of depression without any triggering factor. This is according to psychiatrist Ranier Umali.

Dr. Umali said a person with depression can continue feeling good for months. However, he reiterates that depression is an episodic sickness which patients should be reminded of.

“Minsan, two months na okay na feeling niya ano, biglang darating iyan. Kahit walang trigger iyan. Kapag biglang dumating iyan at hindi alam ng pasyente na iyan ay talagang episode, madedepress ulit iyon, (Sometimes, [a patient] will be okay for two months, but [depression] will suddenly come, even without a trigger. If it comes and the patient is unaware of the episode, he will revert back to being depressed),” he said.

Umali said suicide is the end result of the sickness but depression is not contagious.

“Di siya nakakahawa, because ang suicide is not a sickness it is not infectious. It is a manifestation of a disease process. That is the outcome, (It is not contagious, because suicide is not a sickness),” he said.

However, he clarified that suicide thoughts shared on social media can affect another person.

“Shared thoughts, nadadala ka. Parang mob rule iyon. Nakakaapekto, iba iyong nakakahawa, nakakaapekto [iyon] nakaka-influence iyong thought process, (Shared thoughts can influence you. It is like a mob rule. It is different from being contagious. The thought process can be influential),” he said.

In an episode of UNTV’s morning show Good Morning Kuya, Umali further explained some misconceptions about depression and offered tips to help a person suffering from the disorder.

There are six causes of suicide:

  • Heroism
  • Honor
  • Culture
  • Protest
  • Psychosis
  • Depression

Umali explained that psychosis and depression are the two negative causes of suicide. He also said that the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 1/3 of the population of a country is depressed.

Depression is not an ordinary kind of sadness

Umali said a person with depression is experiencing severe sadness and anhedonia, which is the inability to feel pleasure.

He explained that this is due to a hormonal imbalance in the brain. Low serotonin levels and low oxygen levels in the brain are some of the factors which puts a person in a depressive mood.

Symptoms of depression

  • lassitude
  • vegetative functioning
  • lack of sleep
  • oversleep
  • lack of appetite
  • overeating
  • social isolation

Stop giving advises

Relatives and friends of a person suffering from depression are advised not to carelessly give advice to their loved ones with depression. Umali said not to take away control from the patient.

“Stop giving advice because your advice is your solution and not his solution,” he added.

Exercise but not to the point of exhaustion

It is better for a depressed person to try and get out of bed and do exercises, according to Umali. These include outdoor activities, however, he cautions against pushing oneself to exhaustion.

Avoid eating foods with caffeine

Umali listed down the foods a depressed person should avoid, which include drugs, alcohol, soft-drinks, tea, chocolate, and coffee.

“The last person to know whether he or she is depressed is the person himself,” Umali said. “Kaya kayong mga relatives kapag nakita niyo na iyon kayo na ang gumawa ng aksyon para sa kaniya. (So relatives, if you see [the symptoms] take action for his sake)—AAC

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Posted by Good Morning Kuya on Wednesday, 3 July 2019

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