Recent news of a student committing suicide near the grandstand has shaken the University. Although it remains a delicate and private topic, the issue of suicide has resurfaced once again and it is high time that we take its prevention more seriously.
In the University, there are posters and seminars about suicide prevention, and there’s also the Student Wellness Center (SWC), which aims to address students’ problems and predicaments. But even with these preventive measures, it seems that many might deem suicide inevitable. Causes typically range from mental illnesses or traumas to relationship problems, failure or stress from school, and just plain loneliness. While many people think some of these dilemmas are trivial, it’s important to note that a shocking 75 percent of the people who do commit suicide are “clinically depressed,” as reported in the California State University, Northridge (CSUN)’s website. In the country, gmanetwork.com states that we have the highest number of depressed individuals in Southeast Asia, with 4.5 Filipinos suffering from depression.
Since the concept of suicide has been going on for years, many have formed ideas and perceptions about how we tackle suicide, or simply suicide in general. Like many rumors that we believe is true, it’s necessary that we verify these conceptions first; because unknown to us, it might just save a life.
For instance, many think that those who commit suicide are weak and make mountains of molehills; or that people who say are going to kill themselves are just out there for attention. However, people who mention they want to die, in person or on social media, might actually be suicidal. It’s even stated by the organization Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) that those who talk about suicide but won’t actually do it is a myth. They wrote that practically “everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning.”
Talking and listening evidently seems to be also a factor in dealing with suicide. We often think that talking to people about suicide won’t help, that it might give them the idea to commit the act, and that it might be futile; but this is a misconception. In actuality, both SAVE and CSUN’s website states that talking about suicide can be helpful and relieving to the suicidal person because a person who wants to commit suicide is usually “ambivalent” or has “mixed feelings” about the act. Take, for one, Jay Asher’s known novel Thirteen Reasons Why, which details to people the importance of talking and lending an ear from time to time. Moreover, Lasallian Peer Facilitators (LPF) president Ella Mari Polintan says that “it’s really about listening,” and that when we see a lone student, it pays to befriend or at least talk to them.
There are many ways to prevent suicides, like seeking help or joining an organization. The University can aid in this matter by approving more organizations that suit the interest of the students, as Polintan mentioned. On the other hand, the LPF also has planned programs that are geared “to be alternative venues for students for self-discovery, empowerment, and service.”
There are groups in school and the SWC if you or anyone you know has had suicidal thoughts. And although we use the Internet for maybe not all the right reasons, it has provided us with so many articles and information in case we need to educate ourselves on the issue. For the rest of us, we should place all conceptions in a strainer, and check first if they’re mythical or valid; because in a world where endless chitchat and being loud is appraised, it’s becoming easy for us to forget that it pays to shut up and listen.