Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sen. Miriam's Youth Suicide Prevention bill

In my previous post, I mentioned several pending bills in our Senate and Congress. One of these bills is Senate Bill No. 1911 sponsored by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and is titled Youth Suicide Prevention Act. If you want to read the complete text of the bill, you can download the engrossed PDF version. Below however is the complete text of Sen. Miriam's Explanatory Note for the said bill.

Filipinos committing or attempting suicide are getting younger over the years. The 2001 World Health Report revealed that in 53 countries where complete data were available, “suicide[turned out to be] a leading cause of death for young adults.” Blame it mostly on the demands of rapid urbanization and economic hardships.

Psychiatrists say that life has become more stressful than ever. What complicates the situation is the continued refusal of many families to encourage troubled members to seek the advice of mental health professionals, as if the act itself is an admission of insanity. Psychiatrists point out that children are prone to depression which sometimes leads to suicide. These are caused by the children’s separation from their parents when the latter go elsewhere to work; the restrictive, abusive, punitive, or highly critical parenting style that their elders adopt; the breaking of close relationships, and the oppression of society.

Findings also show that if these events do not drive children to take their own lives, these may still cause these children to grow up as emotionally weak adults.
In the US, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24, and that more teenagers and young adults died from suicide than from a combination of cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, and chronic lung diseases taken together.

In the Philippines, reports allegedly claimed that suicides among Metro Manila students, particularly those attending prestigious schools, are rising at alarming rate, and seem to be following a trend of youth suicides in the US and Japan.

The government, through the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DepEd), should take steps to raise awareness of youth suicide as a serious public health program.