Category Archives: Experts view

Treat depression

I’m reposting this article in observance of World Mental Health Day 2020. I wrote this when I was still with PJI.

Depression is almost always a sign. About 25 percent of patients with depression have thought of committing suicide. And 10 to 15 percent of them have committed suicide, most of the time unsuccessful.

Depression is a mental illness involving deep, unshakable sadness and diminished interest in nearly all activities. It also means temporary sadness and loneliness common to most of us from time to time. Almost everyone gets depressed at one point. But in contrast to “normal” sadness, severe depression can dramatically impair a person’s ability to function in social situations and at work. People with severe depression often have feelings of despair, hopelessness, and worthlessness, as well as thoughts of committing suicide.

So says Dr. Genuina Ranoy, the psychiatric consultant of the Children’s Welfare Specialist Group of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Local study

There are no national data on suicide and depression in the Philippines. But Ranoy cites a study at the Medical City from 1996 to 2000, where at least 150 suicide cases have been recorded.

Of these cases, 117 or 78 percent are women while 33 are men.

The most common mode of suicide for women is wrist-slashing and drug overdose. It’s the same mode of suicide from men.

But generally, men use the more lethal form: using a gun to shoot themselves, intentionally causing vehicular accidents, and jumping from heights.

The study observed that the common reason for women to commit suicide is a problem with the opposite sex. For men, it is often a financial difficulty.

Ranoy said that suicide can also be determined genetically. “If you have a first-degree member of your family who has committed suicide, there is a greater increase for you to commit suicide, too,” she said.

“Lalo na kung mother or father mo, especially when you were physically involved, or you saw how your mother kills herself or your father kills himself. Mas magiging acceptable for you and suicide,” she pointed out.

If the coping skills needed to handle stresses do not develop during childhood, this increases a person’s vulnerability to commit suicide.


Suicide knows no class barriers. “Whether you come from a well-to-do family or a poor one, you can develop the same depression and commit suicide,” she pointed out.

She said patients who are severely depressed don’t commit suicide because they don’t have the initiative to do it.

“It should be noted that when patients recover from severe depression, it is the time that they commit suicide. This is called paradoxical suicide,” Ranoy said.

Described as strings of down emotions, depression is seen in people who are unable to sleep or have the tendency to oversleep; unable to eat or could overeat in the process.

“Almost every day parating down ang feeling. They don’t have the energy. The usual activity that they take delight in previously is no longer enjoyable,” said Ranoy, managing editor of the Philippine Journal of Psychiatry (at the time of the interview).

She disclosed that a big percentage of patients with suicidal behavior also have homicidal tendencies.

“Persons with homicidal behavior think of hurting or killing somebody else, not just themselves. It is more acceptable for them to kill other people than to kill themselves. People should take not only suicidal precaution but also homicidal precaution,” Ranoy said.

She said some medicines for chronic illnesses could also trigger depression. Medication for hypertension, diabetes, neoplasia, steroid, and anti-cancer drugs, for example, may cause depression.


The attempt to kill oneself depends on the intention of the person to commit the act.

“There are suicides wherein the intention of killing themselves is low. They are called borderline personality disorders. They try to commit suicide at the slightest feeling of depression or frustration in their lives. They attempt to kill themselves just to gain attention. This suicide act is also described as suicide gesture or threat,” Ranoy explained.

The mode of suicide, on the other hand, determines the intent of a person to commit suicide.

“Drug overdose or intake of corrosive materials, that’s a high intent of suicide. They want to die because corrosive materials that include Clorox and muriatic acid, once you have taken them, the chance for you to heal is low,” she said

A suicide letter left by the patient also shows the high intention of the person to die.

“It is more acceptable for the person who will commit suicide to leave a letter with the knowledge that their family knows why they did it,” Ranoy said.

Some persons are extremely happy before taking their own lives.

“This is because they have already accepted the fact that they are going to die and don’t want anybody to know this.”

Then some explicitly state the intention.

“There are others who will call a friend or relative before they do the act. However, the intent of killing themselves is low compared to the other one who stays in the room and doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone.”


People around or close to the person who commits suicide experience third-degree pain.

“Guilt is always there…I should have done this to prevent this kind of condition. Although most of the time it’s not their fault, they could have done something,” Ranoy said.


Patients with depression undergo drug therapy. Through psychotherapy, psychiatrists also help patients look for the causes of depression.

A support system plays a major role in preventing suicides. “Those that are vulnerable to suicide and depression are those who do not have any support system. They are single, divorced, or don’t have an active relationship with anyone so they are the most vulnerable,” Ranoy noted.

A support system could also come from friends and colleagues in the workplace. Some government hospitals are offering therapy for poor patients suffering from depression.

Experts said the best way to prevent depression is to live a stress-free life by having a balanced lifestyle and by learning how to breathe or relax.

Bagong Bayani: Filipino’s guide in the new normal

Sharing this very timely info from Doc Ted Esguerra, a Covid19 survivor himself. Words to live by amidst the pandemic. Thanks, Doc.

“As we are recovering, there are ‘old ways’ which we do not bring anymore in our usual lives. We are now in the NEW NORMAL and we are to adapt to its new norms to survive. “Reopening is not back to normal. It is trying to find ways to allow people to get back out to do things they want to do, and business to do business,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “We can’t pretend the virus has gone away. The vast majority of the population is still susceptible.”

I made this mnemonic B.A.G.O.N.G. B.A.Y.A.N.I. as a guide for Filipinos how to ‘stand up’ again in the new normal times — renewed and more resilient.


B – BE FIT – Physically, physiologically, Psychologically, Spiritually
– We must realize that indeed health is wealth

A – ALWAYS IMBIBE GOD-FEARING & FAMILY-CENTERED WAY OF LIFE – Be responsible parent, husband, wife, son or daughter
– Going back to the basic unit of the society
– Moral decadence has started when we detach ourselves from the values taught to us by our parents

G – GO CLEAN, GREEN AND CONSERVATION – Support and practice proper waste disposal, clean energy, forest restoration programs, preservation of culture and the arts, conserve water and electricity
– Involvement of our country in the global campaign for climate change adaptation and low carbon usage
– Imbibe the true cultural richness of our country

O – OBSERVE THE ‘SEVEN WONDERS’ AND OTHER SAFETY PRACTICES – observe the 7 Wonders of Safety : Always wear mask, Observe Physical distancing, Washing of hands with soap and water, avoid crowded areas, observe coughing/sneezing etiquette, do not go out unless necessary, and avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes
– Developing the safety culture and enhancing the safety-security-survival (S3) psyche and practices

N – NEW LIFE, NEW HABIT, NEW TECHNOLOGY – Be prepared for any eventualities, Be flexible, Be more aware, Be learned and educated in accessing information on-line, Adapt to technological advancement suited to our national platform

G – GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH NEIGHBORS & VISITORS – Locally and Internationally. Be tolerant to diversity. Be kind to everyone

B – BE A RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN – As a Voter, Tax Payer, Manager/ Employer, Worker, Student, Netizen, road user.
– Report Crime and corruption
– Video tape and report abuses,

A – ALWAYS GIVE RESPECT AND PRIORITY TO SPECIAL PEOPLE – Elderlies, PWDs, women and pregnant women, Children, Tribes People, and other marginalized members of the society

Y – YIELD TO THE RULES OF THE COMMUNITY AND COUNTRY – from simple pedestrian crossing to not participating in corruption

A – ADVOCATE AND SUPPORT OUR OWN – Produce of our own Farmers/Fishermen; support products of our craftsmen; support obras of our own artisans; support our local tourism

N – NEVER BE LAZY AND NEVER PROCRASTINATE – Early at work and leave in right time

I – INSTILL NATIONALISM – Patronize anything that is about our Country
– Deepen our understanding to the RIGHT part of history
– Change some ‘defeated’ aspects in history
– Renew reverence to flag and anthem
– Foster UNITY
– It doesn’t take much being a hero


Teach kids to protect themselves: Say No!, Run, Tell

Be alert to sexual abuse. If you’re a mom you’ll do anything to protect your kids from harm. Here are some things that kids need to know about tricks offenders do before the abuse begins. And if in case your child spotted a potential abuser teach them to say No! Instruct them to Run as quickly as possible away from the would-be abuser. And be able to Tell parents, guardians or someone who could be trusted about their experience until someone helps them.

  1. Offender says you are special, different or the only one who really understands him.
  2. Treats you differently  from other kids. Gives you special privileges. Treats you like an adult while he acts like a kid.
  3. Wants to take you pictures.
  4. Says he is teaching you sex education by showing you pornographic pictures or movies. He shows his body or touches yours.
  5. Puts lotion or ointment on you when your mother or others are not around (even when you don’t need the ointment).
  6. Offender hangs around school, yard or park where children play. Tells you “not to tell”. Asks you to keep a “secret”.
  7. Does not let you have friends or does not let you do things that other kids your age do.
  8. Comes into your bedroom for no reason.
  9. Asks  you to do things that involve physical contact or touching of private parts.
  10. Offenders wants to spend time alone with you. Makes excuses  for you to go places with him.
  11. Asks questions or make accusations about sex between you and your boyfriends.
  12. “Accidentally” comes into the bathroom when you are taking a bath. Not respecting your privacy.
  13. May fool your parents into allowing you to be “friends” through bribes and other tricks.

Some tell tale signs here could give you a cue and save a kid you know from the trap of an abuser. Please listen to every story your kids are telling you.

Profile of abuser

The sexual offender can be of any age, gender, and from any race, culture, religion, income level, or profession. Most abusers are men (80-85%), are well known to the child and frequently have a position of responsibility and trust for the care of the child. Studies indicate that only about 10% of the offenders are strangers to the abused child. 20% of the offenders are pedophiles (who tend to have a large number of victims).

Help line
Philippine National Police (PNP)
Hotline 117
Or call your local PNP Office
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Call your local DSWD office
Bantay Bata
Hotline : 163