December 10, 2022

Advocates of mental health continue to drum up the campaign for zero suicide as more cases are logged in Baguio City.

Ricky Ducas, mental health nurse and responder at the City Health Services Office (CHSO), who founded the psycho-social support group Baguio and the Anxiety and Depression Support Group-Baguio City, said they have already recorded 26 cases of suicide in the city from January to August this year.

“The most recent was logged on Oct. 25. We hope we won’t have others more on the list,” Ducas said.

In 2020, the mental health clinic of the CHSO recorded 30 suicide cases. He said most of those who committed suicide were from ages 15 to 35 years old.

He said the most common trigger known to cause a person to end his/her life is the big change in the pandemic lifestyle, environment, and exhaustion with the kind of situation the world is in right now.

“Wearing a face mask can also cause an impact emotionally and mentally,” he said.

Ducas said they are spreading the information where individuals who need psycho-social help can go to or contact them.

He said the National Center for Mental Health receives thousands of text messages, emails, and calls asking for time to have “talk therapy.”

Baguio’s mental health helpline managed by Ducas gets an average of five calls a day aside from the text and private messages sent to its social media page.

“They have different cases and different needs but common to them is a desire to talk to someone,” he said.

Ducas said they see something positive that many are coming forward and opening their communication lines to mental health professionals who can really help.

“Suicide can be prevented. Mental illness can be cured and not all individuals who seek psychiatric, psychological, or mental health support means they have a mental illness. The best doctor of our thoughts and thinking process are psychiatrists and psychologists and other health professionals, so ask for help,” he said.

He added as people seek medical help for physical problems, mental problems can also be handled by doctors.

Ducas said mental health is not seasonal. “It should be made part of our culture where aside from having a physical check-up, there should also be a mental check-up.” – PNA