Senator Joel Villanueva has emphasized the need for an intensified campaign that would give awareness regarding mental health and suicide prevention.
In line with the observance of the World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, the senator acknowledged underreported cases of suicide due to social stigma against people with suicidal tendencies.
“This stigma must now be removed. Education regarding mental health and suicide prevention must be intensified and give awareness to all sectors of the society,” Villanueva said.
The senator further stressed the need to increase investment in research on these aspects, and a bigger budgetary allocation and widened access to medical services which are crucial to prevent suicide.
“Access to healthcare is a very limiting condition and this is one of the factors why young and old people alike commit suicide,” the senator said.
In response to the said issue, Villanueva has inserted a provision in the Philippine Mental Health Bill or Senate Bill No. 1345 that proposes to standardize collection and management of data and promote evidence-based research on youth suicide; and institutionalize the 24/7 national hotline for suicide prevention. The senator is one of the authors of the said measure which has already been passed on third and final reading.
Furthermore, Villanueva underscored the glaring data showing an increase of suicide cases among the youth.
According to the data of National Poison Management and Control Center (NPMCC) of the Philippine General Hospital, 46 percent of the total suicide cases recorded since 2010 are from the youth; 30% are young adults aged 20 to 35 year old while the remaining 16% are teens aged 10 to 19 year old.
Adding to the said data is the 2014 global report on preventing suicide by the World Health Organization which revealed that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people 15 to 29 years of age across the globe.
In the Philippines, according to the same report, the estimated number of suicides in 2012 was 2,558.
Overall, the International Association for Suicide Prevention said that more than 800,000 people die by suicide every year. Twenty-five times as many make a suicide attempt.
“Suicide is a public health issue that has not yet been given adequate attention for years. This problem may have affected someone we know, a member of our family, or within our circle of friends. Providing initial support to people with suicidal tendencies is a crucial one. I urge my fellow lawmakers to join us in passing a law that may save someone’s precious life,” Villanueva said.