World Suicide Prevention Day in De La Salle Lipa, Batangas

We celebrated World Suicide Prevention Day here at De La Salle Lipa, Batangas!!!!

Dozens of schools around the area were invited to attend and participate in this observance of World Suicide Prevention Day. Held in the Sentrum, around 1500 students were present.

  Students were invited to sign a freedom board (in which NGF President, Jean Goulbourn also
signed), writing inspirational messages for their friends and family. Messages such as “YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOUR PROBLEMS,” littered the board and many people were asking for another board for them to sign.

Dr. Jerry Jurisprudencia gave a lecture on Bullying and depression and urged the students to be more careful in what they post on the internet. “Many cases of bullying now are cyber-related,” he says “the youth should be more careful with what they post on social media networks.” He stressed the importance of parents or older friends to be more proactive in what the younger people do or post on the internet. In this way, he stresses, cases of bullying would decrease and hopefully will the number of depression cases.

However, it should be noted that bullies (whether cyber or not) should also be taken a closer look at. Bullies may be just projecting their own anger unto somebody else. “Bullies can also be depressed.” says Dr. Jurisprudencia.

 

Students were then treated to a wonderful and informal lecture on LOVE by Dr. Ronaldo Elepano III and Dr. Jannel Cleto of Medical City. The duo discussed how people fall in love, it’s biological and psychological aspects and how LOVE can also be a cause for depression and suicide. Many students laughed and giggled as the pair asked them about their own love experiences. “People don’t realize that the brain is actually the largest sex organ,” says Dr. Elepano.

They also explained that having intense feelings of love is correlated to suicidal risk. “Not that that means you’ll commit suicide,” they emphasize, “But just that you have to be careful with your emotions. You may do something impulsive during bad periods, like the usual lover’s quarrel.”

After the lectures were testimonials from depression and suicide survivors. ABS-CBN’s sports caster, TJ Manotoc spoke about his own experiences and how he overcame it by proper lifestyle changes and strong social support. Next was Karishma Khemlani, who battled depression for several years and attempted suicide several times. She spoke about her own struggle and how she has never been afraid to show her scars. “I am proud of it. Each scar is a story and I want people to know that.” She ends with saying that “people should be kinder to one another. Just a simple act of kindness and compassion has the capacity to save lives. ”

The program culminated with messages from 3 government officials. Mayor Meynardo Sabili of Lipa spoke about his commitment to make Lipa a more mentally fit city. He congratulated De La Salle Lipa for their program and hopes that more schools within the area would take depression and suicide more seriously. Br. Armin Luistro, Secretary of the Department of Education also spoke about his commitment to encourage more schools to be more proactive in recognizing the symptoms of depression and how it could potentially lead to suicide.  Dr. Belen Dimatatac, Chairperson of the PMHA- Batangas Chapter also gave a few words on the importance of mental health among the youth.

With that, all officials, including NGF and representatives of De La Salle Lipa signed this PLEDGE OF COMMITMENT:

“I solemnly pledge to commit to the goal of preventing depression from spreading among our citizenry. I will do everything I can to help anyone who needs assistance and who needs counseling by directing or informing them that there is help available.  I will be more sensitive to the signs of distress among my family, friends and colleagues, who may be suffering silently. I pledge to educate myself further with ample information in order to address the problem of depression.  We believe that there is HOPE. We believe that depression is TREATABLE. We believe that suicide is PREVENTABLE.”

The day ended with the awarding of statement shirts made by the different schools around Lipa. Each shirt depicted an inspiring message and design. The ceremony ended with a band concert from De La Salle, Lipa.

This was truly a fantastic and wonderful experience and NGF could not have done it without the great management of De La Salle, Lipa! We hope that all of you lit a candle by your window!

You can read what De La Salle Lipa wrote about our event here!!