A 28-year old woman jumped onto the tracks of the Metro Rail Transit’s Shaw Blvd. station last January 3 while a man was found hanging from the roof of his rented shanty three weeks later. The following month, a 21-year old student was found dead in her bedroom after stabbing herself while a car executive jumped off the 10th floor of his condominium unit in Makati City.
Although the media is quick to report about such incidents, many cases of suicide in the country still go undetected due to lack of information and the shame that accompanies the act.
With this in mind, the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF) authored a Training Manual and Handbook for the Information and Crisis Intervention Centers (ICICs) which makes it possible for people who are depressed or suicidal, or those who are related to or concerned over individuals with these conditions, to quickly connect to qualified, trained and certified Responders who will assist them through established protocols.
To help NGF in the undertaking, leading telecommunications company Globe Telecom utilizes its strength in information and communications technology to provide a hopeline for ICIC – 0917-588-HOPE (4673) and a toll-free number 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers which will be operational by late March.
“The number of suicide cases is becoming alarming that’s why we want to do something about it by leveraging on technology intrinsic to our business. We want to drive public awareness on the availability of a Globe-provided hotline dedicated to assist and support callers in crisis due to depression or suicide issues as well as those who are not necessarily in immediate crisis but may need help to prevent it from occurring or escalating,” said Rob I. Nazal, Head of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility.
At present, the Philippines has the highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia with over 4.5 million cases reported in 2004. However, most of the depressives would rather suffer the symptoms than to seek help due to the stigma associated with the illness.
But for NGF, knowing what depression is all about is already a big step for depressed individuals to manage the illness as well as help their families and friends understand the problem to enable them to respond and provide constructive support.
Likewise, by providing them advice as well as professional help and organizational linkages, individuals suffering from the illness may be led to positive self-discovery and well-being.