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Don't dismiss suicide, self-harm as 'cry for attention,' #MentalHealthPH urges

A mental health group has stressed the urgent need for strategies that will promote awareness and understanding of suicide and self-harm, rather than dismiss them as "cry for attention," as the public observe the World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday.

"Suicide and self-harm are considered significant public health issues yet remain to be misunderstood and highly stigmatized," #MentalHealthPH said in a statement.

#MentalHealthPH cited a 2017 figure from the World Health Organization that there were a total of 2,449 deaths from suicide in the Philippines.

"As we observe World Suicide Prevention Day, we call on everyone to work together in achieving a mentally healthy community. Rather than dismiss self-harm as a ‘cry for attention,’ there is an urgent need for strategies that can promote awareness and understanding of suicide and self-harm," the group said.

"These actions should be geared toward timely and effective response by addressing the serious underlying issues that negatively impact on someone's mental health and well-being," it added.

#MentalHealthPH said strategic actions from the level of "self, society, and system" could be done rather than turning our back on public health concerns such as suicide and self-harm. These are:

  • At the level of self - Further promote education in the communities, schools and workplaces to end the stigma attached to suicide and increase awareness on mental health among individuals.
  • At the level of society - Media professionals and organizations should practice responsible reporting and sensitive portrayal of suicide in order for people to know how to manage their situation.
  • At the system level - Accelerate the implementation and local adoption of the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2018 which can address current gaps in research and data collection for a clearer picture on the burden of suicide and self-harm among Filipinos and scale up evidence-based promotion, education and service delivery.

The group thus urged people to seek professional help or reach out to a family member or friend, as "it is okay to be not okay" in this time of uncertainties and distress.

Free crisis hotlines are also available nationwide:

  • National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline at 1553 (Luzon-wide landline toll-free), 0917-899-8727, (02) 7-989-8727
  • Philippine Red Cross Hotline at 1158
  • In-Touch Crisis Line at 8-893-7603, 0917-8001123 or 0922-8938944

—AOL, GMA News