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People are raising awareness for Philippines’s suicide hotline with simple status update campaign

Social media can be vile. In the wrong hands, it can be used to spread hate & twist people’s minds. You see videos of dogs being burned & posts advocating rape culture.

But sometimes social media can be a blessing.

Recently responsible netizens have started sharing a simple status update raising awareness for the Philippines’s suicide hotline

Status-update-raising-awareness-for-suicide-hotline

People suffering from anxiety and suicidal thoughts can call (02) 804 – 4673 (HOPE) for free and get confidential & professional support from trained counsellors.

The Philippines’s Department of Health launched the 24/7 suicide hotline in collaboration with the WHO back in 2016 but not everyone is aware of the free service just yet.

Netizens take charge

Without some brand with a massive media budget behind it & in the absence of a huge prize incentive, netizens have of their own accord, started sharing a simple status update to raise awareness for the hotline.

The status update reads:

Hi! Could one friend, please copy and repost (not share)? We are trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening. #SuicideAwareness

Lifeline (02) 804-4673 (HOPE)

 No flashy bucket of ice, no video, no photo, just 24 words and people are sharing it hoping that with a simple act, they could make a world of difference for someone.

Mental health in the Philippines

In 2012, the DOH estimated 2,005 cases of suicide. It is very likely that this number is underreported.

The biggest solution to depression is actually the simplest – seeking help. But in the Philippines, there is a strong stigma on mental health issues. This often leads to people suffering depression in silence, exacerbating their issues with feelings of shame.

When depression goes unnoticed, then it goes untreated.  A suicide hotline is a good avenue for people with depression to find catharsis while still feeling safe.

In an ideal world, a suicide hotline shouldn’t even be necessary

Filipinos’ attitudes towards mental health issues are overdue for a major adjustment.

The beauty of this viral campaign is that it also gives the opportunity for people to express their acceptance of mental health issues and of people who experience them.

It sends the message that “Hey, I understand you might not be ready to come out in the open. So FYI here’s a hotline that you can call anonymously, and at any time. And BTW, I’m here for you if you need me.”

As someone who has had his bouts with anxiety (EDIT: not using depression to be politically correct), I strongly believe that this creates the perfect conditions for helping someone seek the help they need.

If you believe in the project, then just copy paste this status copy on your FB wall.

Hi! Could one friend, please copy and repost (not share)? We are trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening. #SuicideAwareness

Lifeline (02) 804-4673 (HOPE)