TACLOBAN CITY – While the whole world was celebrating the World Suicide Prevention Day last September 10, a heartbroken teenager hanged himself after a spat with his girlfriend in Kawayan, Biliran.

The lifeless body of 18-year old alias “Jan” was seen hanging by children, who were playing near their house, in the morning in Brgy. Ungale in Kawayan town.

Emergency responders from the Municipal Police Station immediately brought the victim to the nearest hospital where the doctor declared him as dead-on-arrival.

Investigators found the victim’s mobile phone inside the house and found in text messages a misunderstanding with his girlfriend.

Records from the Philippine National Police 8 shows a total of 51 consummated suicide cases from January 2020 until August 25, 2022, as recorded by the different municipal police stations in Eastern Visayas, that is, 23 cases in 2020, 17 cases in 2021 and 11 cases from January to August this year.

By municipality, the greatest number of consummated suicides was recorded in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte with seven cases over the same period.

Winnie Dorego, coordinator of the mental health program at the Department of Health regional office, says one of the biggest factors for the spike of suicide cases in the past two years was due to depression brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. “But this can also be caused by a pre-existing condition, meaning a person could have been experiencing depression even before the pandemic,” she said. “One of the hallmarks to consider that a person is serious with his threat of suicide is a previous attempt to commit it. It is crucial that if we learn of somebody attempting to commit suicide right there and then he should be helped,” she added. By Elmer Recuerdo (EV Mail September 12-18, 2022 issue)