On World Suicide Prevention Day, Mental health group says urgent strategies needed to prevent self-harm

In observance of World Suicide Prevention Day, advocacy group MentalHealthPH called on the public to promote awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

"Suicide and self-harm are considered significant public health issues yet remain to be misunderstood and highly stigmatized," the group said in a statement obtained by Manila Bulletin.

"We call on everyone to work together in achieving a mentally healthy community. Rather than dismiss self-harm as "cry for attention," there is an urgent need for strategies that can promote awareness and understanding of suicide and self-harm," it added.

Suicide data collected by the World Health Organization shows that 800,000 people die each year due to suicide, which translates to one death every 40 seconds worldwide. The organization also reported 2,449 deaths by suicide in the Philippines.

MentalHealthPH noted strategic actions that de-stigmatize mental health issues:

  • Further promote education in the communities, schools, and workplaces to end the stigma attached to suicide and increase awareness on mental health among individuals.
  • Encourage media professionals and organizations to practice responsible reporting and sensitive portrayal of suicide.
  • Accelerate the implementation and local adoption of the Philippine Mental Health Law of 2018 to ensure the protection of mental health and improve mental healthcare facilities through the integration of mental health services down to barangays.
The group reiterated the importance of seeking professional help and reaching out to a family member or friends for support and guidance.

MentalHealthPH is a non-profit organization whose core members are composed of health professionals and mental health advocates nationwide.

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed annually on September 10 to raise awareness regarding suicide and the actions that can be taken to prevent these tragedies on global scale.

The following free crisis hotlines are available nationwide:

  •  National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline at 1553 (Luzon-wide landline toll-free), 0917-899-8727
  • Philippine Red Cross Hotline at 1158
  • In-Touch Crisis Line at 8-893-7603, 0917-8001123 or 0922-8938944
NCMH also provides a list of free mental health resources at ncmh-is.com/directory/.