In order to officially introduce World Suicide Prevention Day, a press conference was held on September 1 in Phat Wong Café (formerly Ricco Renzo) in LRI Design Plaza, 210 N. Garcia St. Makati City. Representatives from partner groups were present: Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte represented Quezon City. She also consented to being interviewed by NBN-4 and ABS-CBN about her full participation and partnership with NGF.
The Department of Social Welfare of Development (DSWD) was represented by no less than Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, along with Regional Director of DSWD- NCR Dr. Alice Bonoan. Both of them expressed their support of NGF, along with the possible setting up of first aid suicide trauma centers in all of the DSWD health centers.
The Department of Health (DOH) was represented by Assistant Secretary Paulyn Ubial who addressed the urgency of treating and recognizing the symptoms of depression right away. Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), Toni Umali expressed his concern of not having proper modules in schools on how teachers can help students who may be possibly suffering from depression. He suggested that there be a proper curriculum among schools that addresses this problem so that suicide is prevented and depression easily detected.
Other partner groups were also represented: Dr. Caridad Tarroja, President of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), Dr. Romeo Enriquez, Vice-President of the Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA), Dr. Dinah Nadera, professor of UP-Open University, and co-author of the Philippine Suicide First-Aid Guidelines pamphlet, Dr. Honey Carandang, renowned psychologist of family and child therapy, Tina Enriquez, psychologist of PsychConsult, Inc., Anton Gonzales of Planet Sports, who donated funds for the Fun Run event for World Suicide Prevention Day, and Yoly Ong, chairperson of Campaigns & Grey, who has generously given her time and assistance in helping NGF further increase public awareness.
The conference also featured the launching of the MINDSTRONG campaign of NGF- a new mental fitness and health program under NGF. This program was the brainchild of young board member, Dave Drilon who spoke about the program’s inception, objectives and activities. With the tagline of “Mental Fitness to Fight Depression”, NGF hopes to create new activities aimed at fighting depression through proper mental exercise.