Suicide hotline for the lonely
Isolation may be a sign someone is harboring suicidal thoughts.
“Most of the time, calls we receive are related to romance, and during Christmas and Valentine’s, those are the times they feel most alone,” said Jean Goulbourn, president of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF), on calls they receive on their suicide hotline.
This was seconded by the World Health Organization (WHO), which estimates that over 800,000 people die by their own hand each year, or one suicide every 40 seconds.
“There is no one single symptom but the [main one] that we see is that people coming into a suicidal situation do not feel connected,” WHO Philippine country representative Gundo Weiler said in a press conference on the observance of World Suicide Prevention Day.
“The single biggest factor is being isolated,” he said.
WHO data shows the Philippines ranking 150th of 170 countries in suicide rates with 2.9 deaths per 100,000 population. That 2012 figure is way lower than the global average of 11.4 suicides per 100,000, the WHO said.
Nevertheless, the Department of Health said, every suicide is a tragedy that must be avoided.
The DOH has partnered with NGF in Hopeline, a phone-based counseling service available 24/7 to callers who may be in crisis or suffering from depression.
Hopeline was officially launched on Tuesday and has nationwide coverage. Hopeline used to be solely manned by NGF.
“Finally, there’s a hotline for us to call when we are having psychological and emotional issues.
Persons feeling they need assistance may call Hopeline hotlines 804-HOPE (4673); 0917-558-HOPE (4673); or 2919 (toll-free number for Globe and TM subscribers).
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Center for Mental Health hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).
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