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

Marje Pelayo   •   January 17, 2019   •   4906

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

Nat’l Center for Mental Health opens 24/7 crisis hotline

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) 24/7 crisis hotline is now open to serve the public in response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The President asked for such a hotline to ensure that the public is provided with appropriate mental health care amid the coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Anyone who is experiencing anxiety or other mental health issues may seek professional help through hotline numbers 0917-899-USAP (8727) or 8989-USAP (8727).

According to NCMH Chief Dr. Roland Cortez, it is important for a person experiencing anxiety or depression to have someone to talk to or someone to whom he or she can open up. 

Cortez said their experts on mental health are on call to provide the public their much needed assistance.

Philippines eyes 30,000 daily COVID-19 tests by end of May

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing to achieve 30,000 daily tests for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the end of the month as it works to ramp up the country’s testing capacity.

The DOH set the target after it finally attained its first target to conduct 8,000 COVID-19 tests in a day.

On Sunday, May 10, the agency reported it has conducted 8,637 tests in one day. This is, however, 10 days past its target date of April 30.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the tests were done on 158,176 unique individuals.

She explained that one of the causes of the delay was the slow processing of samples after the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) had to scale down its operations in April when over 40 of its medical staff contracted COVID-19.

The RITM has since returned to normal operations after most of its personnel recovered from the disease.

So far, the Philippines has 26 accredited laboratories capable of detecting the strain of coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.

Vergeire said they are eyeing to open additional testing facilities to reach its target of 30,000 daily tests.

This way, the country will be able to improve efforts on contact tracing, isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients to effectively curb the spread of the disease.

“Hindi pa po tapos ang laban ng World War C (COVID-19) sa bawa’t bagong impormasyon bawa’t bagong teknolohiyang nadidiskubre upang malabanan ang COVID-19 tayo’y dapat maging manatiling alerto dahil ang bawa’t bagay na nagagawa natin ay mayron buhay na mailigtas,” Vergeire said.

To date, the Philippines has recorded 11,086 confirmed coronavirus infections, with 726 deaths and 1,999 recovered patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PCG saves man after jumping off a ship in Sibuyan island

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 2, 2019

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) saved a 53-year-old man who jumped off a ship along the coast of Gallo island in Sibuyan on Monday (September 30).

Authorities reported that the man, identified as Carlito Cataylo, might have been suffering from depression.

The sea marshals that were on-duty at that time immediately saved Cataylo after his 60-year-old wife called out for help when he jumped from MV St. Michael de Archangel.

“Base doon sa report na natanggap namin medyo parang agitated siya. Nakainom pero noong tinanong parang may dinadaanan siyang depression, (Based on the report we received, he seemed agitated. He had a drink but when he was interviewed, it seemed like he is going through depression)” according to PCG Spokesperson Capt. Armand Balilo.

Cataylo was immediately given first aid.

Experts say it is not easy for individuals who are suffering from depression. They advise relatives to talk to their loved ones who are suffering from the mental illness. It is also better to consult a specialist.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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