Friends, family urged to be alert for signs of depression

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IRRITABILITY, loss of interest in previously interesting activities and deteriorating personal hygiene are among the signs that a person is depressed and might commit suicide.

Dr. Rene Obra, chief of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC)'s Center for Behavioral Sciences, said that a person who shows signs of depression for more than two weeks may become suicidal.

He said, though, that a depressed person is less likely to commit suicide if he or she gets support from close friends and family.


Other signs of depression are loss of or voracious appetite, sleeplessness, poor concentration, memory loss, refusing to socialize with others, poor decision-making and the tendency to write down suicide notes.

Obra, a psychiatrist, said depression can afflict a person. “If ma-happy ta for valid reasons, ma-depressed sad ta for valid reasons (There are reasons we’re happy or depressed). (But) what might be depressing to some does not affect others,” he added.

Obra said his studies reveal that more women have suicidal tendencies than men, but men are likely to push through with suicide.

He said people under 18 to 34 have a higher risk to commit suicide, but those above 70 years old would push through with the act.

Obra said senior citizens are likely to commit suicide because they feel they have nothing to lose and have already experienced everything that life can offer.

He said people should not make jokes about suicide to persons with suicidal tendencies.

He also urged persons who feel suicidal to approach psychiatrists and seek help rather than keep their problems to themselves.

“Approaching a psychiatrist for help is not a sign that you are going crazy. Suicidal tendencies are considered a form of illness. If you have an illness, you must approach a doctor,” Obra said.

Obra said that VSMMC is planning to put up a “suicide hotline” to help people cope with their suicidal tendencies.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 20, 2014.

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