Suicide: Resolve Not Condemn

Our society has been rocked by another tragic news before the year ends. Though it is not as tragic as the number of casualties due to Typhoon Sendong, it is equally as disturbing as yet another actor commits suicide. Though not entirely popular, fact remains that he was still a showbiz figure for several years.

Tyron Perez, one of the first Starstruck stars from GMA7 who later went to ABS CBN, was found dead according to one source in his car while another source said the cause was suicide. No details are clear as of the moment yet. He became a trending topic in Twitter with fans tweeting their condolences. I guess there was also much speculation and judgement going on around about the cause of his death.

Suicide is something not talked about in the Philippines much. The latest available statistics for the Philippines was in 1993 with an overall rate of 2.1 (2.5 for males and 1.7 for females). It’s a taboo topic in this mostly Catholic country of ours. The Church has propagated that suicide is a sin and is against the laws of God. Thus the difficulty in obtaining the data.

Indeed, it is a sin. The Bible is clear on that. But this doesn’t justify our society in judging the people who commit suicide. Just because it is a sin is not enough justification that we have the right to condemn the people who commits such. Judgement and condemnation are not ours to give. Only God has the right to do such. Because of society’s judgement on suicide, most of the time families choose to register the cause of death as accidents. At least accidental deaths get proper burials and are given prayers. Suicides are not. Thus it was a huge thing that when former AFP Chief Angelo Reyes committed suicide, the Church choose to overlook the cause of death and allowed him a proper burial.

Yet what is the real reason why people commit suicide? I guess it’s obvious. It’s stress and problems perceived to be too large to handle in this life thus death becomes an escape from the harsh reality. I’ve heard stories of people committing suicide because they are faced with poverty and no prospects to get out of it or faced with the pains of a break-up or perhaps financial struggles. The wife of Ted Failon was an example of someone who struggled financially and rather than admit it to his husband committed suicide instead. Another one was the DBP executive who was faced with the prospect of interrogation for some corrupt deal. He ended his life also. I know of a student from my fomer high school who committed suicide some say because of love; others say because of studies.

Whatever it is, people commit suicide because they’re under so much stress, they can’t cope. But what are we doing about it? Are we doing enough to address this need of society? Has the Philippines recognized yet that mental health is as essential as physical and emotional health? Are psychologists and stress centers as easily accessible? Or is it only the rich who can afford them? Or is there a stigma that if one goes to a shrink he or she is cuckoo?

These are issues enveloping our society. Silent but deadly. Unless we can find a way to address them and change the mindset of our nation into something more positive and empowering then we may see the incidence of suicide rising not just among the popular ones but also among the common folks. Let us not wait for that to happen.