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It’s not okay to joke about suicide, doc says


By Kier Edison C. Belleza

Cebu City — Today, the 15th World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), comes with a reminder on how to save another life.

“Never try to make suicide-related jokes to a suicidal patient,” Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center’s Center for Behavioral Sciences Chief Dr. Rene Obra said in a speech at a mental health symposium organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas-Cebu chapter.

Obra explained that cracking suicide-related jokes should be avoided “because by the time a suicidal patient will be depressed again, tendency is he or she can remember your joke,” which later, might move the person to contemplate on the act of deliberate killing of oneself.

As to those people struggling with depression, Obra advised them to open up to people whom they can trust, who is a good listener and one who can empathize.

Erika Datan, Department of Health-Central Visayas Mental Health Program Assistant Focal Person, echoed Obra’s statement and sent out a message to the families and friends of those people diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

“Without your support, mental illness patients cannot fully recover,” said Datan.

Mental illness is a disorder that affects a person’s mood, thoughts or behaviors. It includes a variety of diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and panic disorder.

According to Datan, it is important to remember that these disorders are treatable and that patients can still live full and rewarding lives, should they seek medical treatment.

Tawag Paglaum (TP), previously known as Hopeline Suicide Hotline, is a round-the-clock hotline in Cebu with trained responders for suicide prevention and emotional crisis intervention.

The hotline’s numbers are: 0927-654-1629; 0939-936-5433; and 0939-937-5433.

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