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Church leader calls for heightened awareness on mental health


By Christina Hermoso

With the rising incidence of depression and suicide in the country, a Catholic Church leader has called for heightened public awareness on mental health issues.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David via CBCP News / Manila Bulletin

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines vice president Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David noted that the root cause of many cases of suicide is not openly discussed because of the negative perception of the general public on suicide.

“The person is a victim, a victim of depression. We don’t say they killed themselves, we say depression killed them. They did not know how to cope with this depression,” David said during his pastoral visit on-air over Church-run Radio Veritas.

“We strongly support the timely passage of the Mental Health Law as there is an urgent need to increase public awareness on the situation faced by individuals with mental health problems,” the prelate said.

David, likewise, urged the Department of Health to conduct more drug rehabilitation programs. “Drug addiction or substance abuse disorder is also a form of mental health problem that needs to be addressed through medical assistance and rehabilitation and not through violence or killings,” he stressed.

According to experts, mental illness usually begins at a young age and if left untreated or ignored, may result to suicide between the ages of 15 to 29. In the country, the DoH recorded 2,413 cases of suicide in 2016.

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