THREE out of 10 Filipino youths have considered taking their own lives in 2021, one year since the pandemic happened, the National Youth Assessment Study showed.
Based on the study, 31 percent of Filipino youths aged 15 to 30 who participated in the study had suicidal thoughts in 2021. Suicide ideation rose from 12.9 percent in 2015 to 17 percent, the National Youth Commission (NYC) said.
This increasing number of youth thinking of committing suicide is “very alarming,” NYC Executive Director Leah Villalon said during Pandesal Forum in Quezon City.
“Napakalaki ng impact ng COVID-19 pandemic sa lahat po ng ating estudyante. For more than two years sila po ay na-lockdown at ‘di sila nagkaroon ng interaction among their peers and also their teachers na napaka-importante sa kanilang upbringing,” Villalon said.
When asked what young people can do in light of the increasing suicide cases, Villalon said they must recognize the problems they are experiencing and seek professional help from counselors.
Meanwhile, NYC Chairperson and CEO Ronald Gian Carlo Cardema said in a statement that schools should replicate the commission’s peer-to-peer mental health coaching program in order to confront these problems.
Eroding mental health’s effects on education
The youth commission also reported that Filipino youths’ performance in education was affected as a result of these mental health issues.
“About three out of 10 or 34 percent of Filipino youths do not have means to participate in online learning, while four out of 10 or 44 percent of the Filipino youths feel they were not learning enough,” Villalon said.
Moreover, 46.9 percent, or four out of 10 of the Filipino youths commissioned in the research study, revealed that the motivation to learn has declined.
In light of the recent study, NYC said it is calling on the government and the education department to strengthen music, arts, physical education, and health subjects and integrate physical activities into all subjects.
The NYC also recommended bringing Reserve Officers’ Training Corps back, strengthening Citizenship Advancement Training, and implementing the National Service Training Program in order to address the current situation of Filipino youths.
“When we provide avenues or opportunities like these to our students, natututo sila to be self-disciplined, creative, and critical especially when they encounter problems. Hindi ‘yung susuko na agad,” Cardema said.
According to the World Health Organization, every year, more than 700,000 individuals commit suicide, or one every 40 seconds. Suicide is the fourth most common cause of death for people aged 15 to 29 worldwide.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).