Recently at the developing community of Masville in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City, a 21-year-old man died by suicide by hanging himself to death in a residence. The reason? Because he broke up with his girlfriend.
This was revealed to me by Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) chairperson Mariel Tumang during my exclusive interview with her on the topic of youth suicide.
To put things in perspective, Tumang stated that the age definition of youth under the Reformed SK system is 15 to 30-years-old. The guy who took his life is therefore identified as a youth and was already working. On July 20, Tumang attended the man’s funeral at his family residence and the experience reminds her that the SK has a responsibility to ensure that youth suicides would be prevented.
“We had one project with Kagawad Rocel Espino who handled the barangay committee on education which includes youths. The project she created was the youth camp and it was organized at a local school,” Tumang said. “Many youths attended and they shared problems and concerns. We at the SK will adapt that kind of project.”
In preparation for the planned youth camp, the BFSK chairperson and the kagawads will have to do some research as well as make presentations in seminars. A youth orientation activity done by Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Espino was held recently which educated many youth participants. This, of course, sets a model of guidance for the BFSK as part of their preparation for the planned youth camp which, as of this writing, still has no date nor a venue finalized.
“We also have the mental health awareness counseling program planned at the SK. Right now we are still discussing as to when we could organize it,” Tumang stated. “I really want to organize the mental health awareness program and youth camp soon as I learned many helpful lessons from a seminar at Paranaque City Hall.”
The said seminar was about mental health awareness and by participating in it, Tumang said she realized the many factors that contribute to suicide such as depression, insecurity, uncertainty and the like. Even words can hurt a person and even cause him or her to get depressed.
“That was a very engaging seminar the discussions were very in-depth. I learned so much from it and I believe we can really help the local youths,” she said.
Tumang added that Kagawad Espino taught her that youths struggle as they grow up and get educated. The struggles include being unable to open up and speak out about their concerns, being fearful about others judging them, and the like. There are also youths who are a lot more vulnerable or more sensitive than meets the eye.
“Because words can be painful, some jokes cracked at youths hurt them very deep inside reaching to the point of cracking under social pressure, becoming stressed or, even worse, they begin to think about suicide,” Tumang said.
To put suicide in perspective, it was reported in Business Mirror that in the year 2012, a total of 2,550 cases of suicides (all ages) in the Philippines were registered according to Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle.
The BFSK chairperson plans to have the youth camp (and hopefully the health awareness counseling program) push through sometime this September. However pulling it off remains challenging due to budgeting, the time management of activities and getting valuable resources.
The Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay BF Homes is reaching out to generous members of the public who wish to donate to them (cash or in kind) for the purpose of organizing the youth camp and its campaign to prevent youths from dying by suicide.
To inquire or give something, communicate directly with BFSK Chairperson Mariel Tumang at Barangay BF Homes hall along Elsie Gatches street in Parañaque City.
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