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

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2019

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

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Are suicidal thoughts contagious?

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 5th, 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

Suicidal thoughts: Nakakahawa ba? | Usapang Pangkalusugan

Suicidal thoughts, nakakahawa ba?Alamin kung paano malalabanan ang depresyon o matinding kalungkutan at ang mga paraan para mapapanatili ang kalusugang pang-kaisipan.

Posted by Good Morning Kuya on Wednesday, 3 July 2019

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Depressed? Call 989-USAP

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines – The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) has tasked counselors to man a hotline for cases of depression and other mental health problems in the country.

The agency on Thursday (May 2) launched the NCMH Crisis Hotline numbers, 0917-899-USAP and 989-USAP for Filipinos needing mental health crisis intervention and counseling services.

NCMH chief, Allan Troy Baquir said, “The hotline aims to reach out to those who do not have the immediate means to seek advice and serves as an avenue to offer hope and care for those who have mental health issues.”

Hotline counsellors have been assigned to attend to calls on depression, psychiatric emergencies, suicidal thoughts, grief and loss, relationship issues, sexual abuse, and domestic violence among other issues.

Those who are assessed with high risk will be immediately provided with intervention, Baquir said.

The World Health Organization reports that around 800,000 people die annually due to suicide. – Marje Pelayo

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Dengue cases in Zamboanga Peninsula up by 81%

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2019

Dengue cases in Zamboanga Peninsula rose to 81 percent, according to the Department of Health (DOH) 9. Cases had reached 1,743 from January 1 to March 7, 2019.

Based on the report of the DOH 9, Zamboanga City reported 719 dengue cases, a 213% increase compared to the same period last year which recorded 230 cases. Zamboanga del Norte, on the other hand, recorded 499 cases which is a 222 percent increase from last year’s 155 cases.

Meanwhile, Zamboanga Sibugay recorded 175 dengue cases; Isabela City , Basilan, 99 cases; and Zamboanga Del Sur with 251.

READ: DOH: even a little water can serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes

The DOH reminds residents to implement the 4-S campaign against dengue and work on controlling the mosquito population.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously said, “The first step to prevent dengue is within our homes. It is important to remove any space or container that can hold unnecessary stagnant water which may become breeding sites for mosquitoes.”—Aileen Cerrudo

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