Over a decade ago, there were 4.5 million cases reported on this silent illness called depression. Due to its social stigma, no one really wants to step up front and get diagnosed with it. As a result, not enough study or monitoring is being done in the Philippines for the moment.
It is estimated that for every 90 depressives, only one-third is expected to seek help, one third will suffer silently while the other one-third will bear the symptoms not knowing there’s something wrong.
“Depression can hit anyone but not everyone knows what to do or where to go for assistance. Some are afraid to talk about it for fear of being labeled as insane or crazy. They need someone who can understand their situation, give advice and support, and bring light to their journey of suffering and pain with positive self-discovery and well-being,” said Jean Goulbourn, president of Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF), a non-profit organization which helps people be aware of how one can prevent, recognize or treat this illness.
With this in mind, NGF and Globe Telecom earlier entered into a partnership for the NGF HOPELINE, a portal which makes it possible for people in need to quickly connect on a person-to-person basis with qualified, trained and certified responders who assist callers through established protocols. It also directs the callers where to undergo diagnosis, treatment and therapy.
“We want to help people in a truly meaningful manner. Through the use of ICT, we are able to reach out to many people confidentially without fear of being cast aside. This illness is real and it affects our youth. Together with NGF we offer a solution which can help those who are suffering find a happy place,” said Fernando Esguerra, Head of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility.
Globe provides the information and communications technology infrastructure for HOPELINE. Both NGF and Globe encourage people who are in emotional crisis and in need of immediate assistance as well as their families and friends to contact the NGF HOPELINE at (02) 804-HOPE (4673), 0917 558 HOPE (4673), and 2919 (toll-free number for all GLOBE and TM subscribers).
A number of factors may cause the illness such as chemical imbalances in the brain or family history or stressful events such as the death of a loved one, separation, or job loss. Certain medicines, overuse of drugs and alcohol, and chronic diseases can also lead to depression. Common symptoms may include the following:
- Intense sadness for prolonged period
- Crippling guilt for everything
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Disturbed or too much sleep
- Anger, aggressiveness, restlessness, and irritability
- Helplessness and hopelessness that things will not get better
- Trouble concentrating and memory loss
- Unexplained physical pain
- Lack of control over negative thoughts
- Reckless behavior, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies
Not everyone will experience the same symptoms since it will depend on several factors such as gender, genetics, coping mechanism, support structure, relationship, and culture.
But there is help and ultimately HOPE. Each one does deserve a happy place to be in.