22 June 2021 – The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) raised concern over the significant increase in suicide cases in the city for the first semester of the year primarily because of the serious negative impact of the ongoing Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 pandemic to the mental health of people.

City Social Welfare and Development Officer Betty Fangasan disclosed that from January to date, there were already 19 documented suicide incidents compared to the 24 cases reported during the whole year of 2020.

As per record from the CSWDO, she reported that 16 of these cases were males while 3 were females.

Further, majority of the cases were aged 20 to 30 years old and that the causes of the suicide cases as per their investigation were alleged stressful life event, mental health issues or disorders, family and financial problems, among others, that led to depression.

The city social welfare officer pointed out that psychological first aid had been conducted by the office to the bereaved families of the suicide victims to initiate the appropriate healing process and ease their emotional and psychological trauma and to prevent the contagion effect of such tragic and traumatic incidents.

According to her, the psychological first aid were conducted by the CSWDO in close collaboration with the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) and City Health Services Office (CHSO which have the expertise in the conduct of such interventions for the survivor family members.

Fangasan clarified that the reported suicide cases were document based on the incidents reported to the concerned authorities and it is important for family members to report such incidents to the concerned agencies and local governments so that appropriate interventions could be done to the family members who were left behind to reduce their trauma created by the incident.

The city government department head urged residents who witness the unusual behavior of their family members or neighbors to immediately seek the assistance of concerned authorities to ensure that appropriate assistance or interventions could be provided to the said persons to prevent their situation from worsening that could eventually lead to suicide.

Fangasan advised that residents should be vigilant on the behavior of their family members, neighbors or acquaintances so that they will be able to immediately refer them for the conduct of the appropriate assistance or intervention that will avert extreme measures that may be resorted to by disturbed individuals.

The CSWDO is the office in charge of providing appropriate assistance and intervention for the residents to access the various social welfare services to allow them to cope with the present effects of the ongoing Coronavirus Disease (COVID) pandemic to the mental, emotional, and health of individuals. – Dexter A. See