Manila Bulletin

Cebu has country’s highest suicide rate


CEBU CITY — The province of Cebu has the highest number of suicides in the country, with Mactan Bridge as the favorite site to kill oneself, according to a renowned psychiatri­st here.

Dr. Rene Obra, chief of the Center of Behavioral Sciences at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and a psychiatri­st at the Tawag Paglaum Bisaya Center hotline, said there is one suicide every 42 seconds.

Obra spoke at a media forum Wednesday, Suicide Awareness Day, at the Department of Health (DOH) regional office here.

The suicide ratio is four males to one female, with youth bullying in school and or cyber-bullying as the top causes of suicides, Obra said.

For every 100,000 population in the Philippine­s, two people attempt to kill themselves. Suicide attempts are increasing among males between 15 and 24 years old and teenage suicide is more prevalent among boys than girls, she said.

More males at peak ages of 45 commit suicide by jumping in bridges and shooting themselves. Females commit mostly “attempted” suicides by drinking diluted poisonous liquids.

Women usually attempt suicide to get attention, a condition known as “para-suicide” which is characteri­zed by self-mutilation or slashing of the wrist. Obra said para-suicide is most common among students. “They need more guidance at home and in school,” she said.

Talking about suicide as a mental health issue cannot and should not be taken lightly, Obra said. People with suicidal tendencies are usually in a depressive mood, have deteriorat­ed hygiene, irritable, have sleeping problems and lack concentrat­ion in whatever they’re doing.

Obra said the Paglaum Tawag hotline, opened in August 2015 has received 2,774 calls from 681 males and 1,324 females, and 27 callers from the LGBT group.

She said 2,032 calls were incomplete because the caller hung up.

“Our caller data in 2017 showed that we averaged at 154 calls a month, usually coming in the evening, with 56 percent of callers are females under the 18-30 age group category,” Obra said.

“It is very telling that females usually seek help when they are depressed while men keep their depression to themselves,” Obra said.

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