Cong Corrales .
DEPRESSION is this generation’s silent killer. It does not also help that until now, there is still a stigma attached to any mental illness. The reason why most people who suffer from depression opt to keep it to themselves or worse, be in denial.
Major depressive disorder, as psychiatrists call it, is a common but nevertheless serious and lethal mental illness. It affects your ability to function at school and at home.
The realness of this issue hit close to our home when a cousin of my ex-girlfriend took her own life at the age of 18. It left all of us in shock. We just couldn’t believe she could do that because she seemed bubbly and outwardly happy.
Depression is different from sadness and grief. The sadness felt during the grieving process comes in waves and are accompanied with positive memories of that special person who passed away or a loved one you broke up with. While, when you are having major depression, you lose interest, pleasure with most things for at least 15 days.
Depression can hit anyone, even people who seem to be living in a relatively comfortable status. According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are several factors that trigger depression in people.
• Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
• Genes: Major depressive disorder can run in families. If a sibling has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
• Personality: People who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic, or have low self-esteem are most likely to experience depression.
• Environmental: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty can also make people more vulnerable to depression.
With grief, a person’s self-esteem is pretty much intact. Depression, however, feelings of worthlessness and self-hate are common. This is the reason why many depressed people, when left untreated or unaddressed, almost always lead to suicides. Grief and depression may overlap but the are two different and identifying between the two can help people seek support and treatment.
According to the Department of Health studies, the suicidal rate in the country is 2.9 per 100,000 people. In the Philippines, males are more prone to suicide than their female counterparts at a ratio of 550 females against 2,008 males. Here in the city, there have been seven suicides involving young people in March alone. Although we enjoy the lowest suicide rate among Southeast Asian countries, it still remains a serious problem, especially among young people.
Earlier this month, we commemorated the World Suicide Prevention Day. The health department has launched the “Hopeline Project.” Since it is a phone-based counseling service, it aims to remove the stigma from mental health issues.
For landline calls, you can reach (02) 804-HOPE (4673), for cellphone calls you can reach 0917-558-HOPE (4673), and you can also dial 2919, it is a toll-free number, for all Globe and TM subscribers.
If you’re suffering from depression, know that there are people that can help you. Please do not be embarrassed to admit you have depression. The sooner you embrace that reality, the sooner you can get help and treatment.