THE PSYCHOLOGY SOCIETY of San Beda University (PSSBU) lent its heartfelt voice to all those struggling with their mental health by spreading awareness during World Suicide Prevention Day through their Facebook post last September 10.
With a caption that read, “You are not alone, together we can create a world where everyone is safe and supported,” PSSBU’s Facebook post echoed the urgency of drawing attention to World Suicide Prevention Day.
Asia Estrada, the Vice President for External Affairs of PSSBU, provided insightful perspectives into the motivation behind this significant initiative. She emphasized that World Suicide Prevention Day serves as an opportunity to educate the public about the prevalence of suicide, its risk factors, and warning signs.
To underscore the necessity of addressing this issue, Estrada discussed the alarming statistics. “Suicide rates vary by age and gender. In many countries, suicide ranks as the second or third leading cause of death among individuals aged 15 to 29,” she stressed out.
She added that they highlight the urgency of addressing suicide as a public health issue and the importance of early intervention, access to mental health care, and community support in preventing suicide.
When asked about the underlying factors contributing to the crisis, Estrada acknowledged the complexity of the issue. She highlighted how the youth of today grapple with varying stressors, including bullying, both in-person and online, financial difficulties, economic instability, societal pressures, stigma surrounding mental health, and cultural expectations.
One of the most significant challenges in addressing mental health and suicide is the ‘pervasive stigma’ as some erroneously assume that people can easily “snap out of it”. Yet in reality, the truth is that mental health issues are genuine medical conditions demanding both empathy and expert care. “To effectively address this crisis, comprehensive strategies for prevention and support must be developed,” she suggested.
For those who find seeking professional help overwhelming, starting with a trusted friend or family member can be a valuable first step. Estrada advised against pressuring oneself to ‘get better’ immediately, as progress in mental health is gradual.
People facing suicidal thoughts or mental health challenges require effective means to address their issues, shedding light on the significance of crisis hotlines. The hotlines offer anonymity, enabling individuals to seek help without the fear of judgment or consequences, ultimately fostering a culture of support and comprehension.
Estrada asserted that “these lifelines offer immediate support,” adding that “these services are typically anonymous making it easier for people to reach out without fear of stigma and can assist callers in developing safety plans, connecting them with resources, and guiding them toward professional help when necessary.”
Reaching out to all those who are facing struggles, Estrada says that “open and honest conversations can create a more compassionate and understanding community.” By fostering a culture of mental health awareness, support, and compassion, she believes that people can “make a positive impact on our community and society as a whole.” In their relentless pursuit of change, PSSBU reminds everyone that a brighter future lies ahead when everyone stands together, supporting each other.
(with Rizian Veniz Balleta)
Photo courtesy of San Beda Red Lens