2023 1st quarter records 4th suicide case:

Eagles promote mental health awareness among HS students

With suicide incidents on the rise anew in 2023, the initiative of the Abaca Eagles Club to campaign for mental health awareness among high school students could not have come at a better time.

Last week, two more individuals, including a young college student, committed suicide, bringing the total fo four in the first three months of the year.

Last March 31, a first-year student of the College of Agriculture and Fisheries at the Catanduanes State University was found hanging by a rope tied to a tree at about 9 AM in barangay San Roque, Virac.

Authorities have yet to determine why the 19-year-old resident of Dugui Too, whose father owns an upholstery shop, took his own life.

Just two days earlier, on March 29, a 43-year-old construction worker was discovered lifeless and hanging by a rope from a wooden beam by his own father at 6 PM inside his house in Cabugao, Bato.

Initial investigation by the police stated that the victim was suffering from family problems prior to the incident.

Last January, a 12-year-old boy hanged himself in barangay Capilihan, Virac after the Grade 7 pupil was allegedly scolded and punched by his father.

The mother of the boy reportedly left the house to buy food from the public market and came home to find their eldest child hanging by a rope and already dead.

In Bato also that month, a woman discovered her 48-year-old husband, a farmer from Cagraray, already dead and hanging by his neck from a rope tied to the wooden beam inside a nipa hut in front of their house.

Police said the victim was suffering from financial constraints and family problems prior to the incident. His emotional situation, it was claimed, was worsened when his carabao was stolen.

It may be recalled that the municipal government of Virac expressed its concern after suicide cases increased fivefold in the capital town last year compared to 2021.

The Catanduanes Police Provincial Office disclosed to the Tribune that for 2022, a total of 16 suicide incidents in the island province, with Virac accounting for 10 of the cases.

The other six cases of people killing themselves came from Viga with two and Bagamanoc, Caramoran, Pandan and San Andres with one each.

What made the administration of Mayor Samuel Laynes apprehensive was that during the previous three years, there were only four suicides, two each in 2019 and 2021.

Among the 11 towns, there were only seven suicides in 2019, eight in 2020 and nine in 2021, with the 16 cases in 2022 nearly doubling the previous year’s tally.

This January 2023, Provincial Board Member Jan Ferdinand Alberto called up his brothers in the Abaca Eagles Club, particularly Pres. Christopher Marasigan, Dr. Robert John Aquino and Guariño Sanchez for a brainstorming on a mental health awareness campaign.

In a message to the Tribune, Dr. Aquino said their noble endeavor started after collaborating with Department of Education’s Catanduanes Schools Division Office as they intended to target high school students all over the island.

The campaign seeks to educate and instill an awareness of mental health among all high school students and their teachers thru lectures, group discussion and open forum.

Already, thousands of secondary students have been catered by the club in four high schools in Calatagan in Virac, Codon in San Andres, San Jose (Oco) in Viga and in Panganiban.

Lined up for a similar event after the Holy Week break are the Catanduanes State University and selected high schools in Caramoran and Bagamanoc.

During the activity, Dr. Aquino conducts the lecture on depression among students and how they can cope with it while PBM Alberto and some club members share their experiences.

He said that high schools which are interested to avail of the club’s campaign are welcome to seek an appointment through their Facebook account or send a formal written request.

“We can facilitate any request (for assistance) and for those who need to be referred, we will facilitate the referral,” he added. “There is no health without mental health.”

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