Virac tricycle driver 2nd suicide in August

A tricycle driver troubled by financial problems took his own life in Virac last week, becoming the second suicide in recent weeks in the province of Catanduanes.

According to the police, the 49-year old victim was found lifeless hanging by a rope from a concrete beam in their sala at Palta Small at 5pm of Aug. 13, 2021.

A source at the Catanduanes Island Media Club (CIMC) identified the tricycle driver as Aldrin Vista Bataller.

His wife told the police that while she was arranging things at the small sari-sari store in front of their house, he left, telling her he would make coffee for them.

But after almost an hour when he failed to return, she went inside their house and came upon his body hanging by a nylon rope from the beam. She immediately sought help from their neighbors and brought him to the Eastern Bicol Medical Center where he was declared dead on arrival by Dr. Arman Espinola.

The wife also disclosed to the police that her husband had been having financial problems and that it was the second time that he tried to kill himself due to depression.

Just four days earlier, on Aug. 9, a carpenter, Augusto Santelices Sumalde, also hanged himself inside the comfort room of their house in Carangag, San Andres.

The report stated that his brother, Eddie, had just come home from stripping abaca in the mountains and, upon entering the toilet, saw Augusto hanging from the roof with an electric wire tied around his neck.

He also said that in August 2016, the victim tried to kill himself but was pacified by neighbors.  Family problems was to blame for Augusto’s depression, the brother said.

In a recent report, the Department of Health (DOH) said that at least 3.6 million Filipinos are battling mental health issues as the Philippines continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 1.14 million Filipinos have depression, 847,000 are battling alcohol-use disorders, while 520,000 others were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, said Frances Prescilla Cuevas, chief health program officer of the DOH’s Disease Prevention and Control Bureau.

Contracting COVID-19 also affects a person’s mental health as a DOH study showed that 1 in every 3 COVID-19 patients was diagnosed with neuropsychiatric condition 6 months after being infected with the disease, Cuevas said.

Latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that suicide incidents rose 25.7% from 2,808 deaths in 2019 to 3,529 in 2020, making it the 27th leading cause of death in 2020 from 31st in 2019.

From 2015 to 2020, the average number of deaths caused by suicide was at 2,630.

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