By upao - Posted on 18 September 2013

The Gladiola Center hall was filled with students, community members, leaders and policy makers during the Suicide Prevention Forum on September 10, 2013. (Inset) BSU President, Ben D. Ladilad discussing with La Trinidad businessman Jack Dulnuan and company before the start of the forum.

As memorable as the 9/11 twin towers tragedy in New York, USA, the world also remembers 9/10 or September 10 of every year as Suicide Prevention Day. This was declared and made commemorated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003.

In Benguet, a Suicide Prevention Forum was organized by the BSU-Institute of Social Research and Development, BSU-Office of Student Services, ResearchMate Inc., and the Cordillera Regional Health Research and Development Consortium (CRHRDC) on September 10, 2013 at the BSU Gladiola Center. The forum aimed to foster understanding of the suicide phenomenon as well as to initially plan extension activities that can be delivered to specific communities.

The papers presented in the forum are: Pansig’dan-Understanding Suicide in the Context of Cash Crop Farming by Ruth Sidchogan-Batani, Stanley F. Anongos Jr., Mursha D. Gapasin, Rachelle D. De Guzman, Betty C. Listino, Beverly C. Sa-ao, Tecah C. Sagandoy and Gregorio C. Taag; Predictors and Severity of Suicidal Ideation among BSU College Students by Ramon Fiangaan; Profile of Suicide in the Mountain Trail Areas by Phoebe U. Pasiwen; Biomedical Perspective (Community Based) by Joseph Alunes; and Life Skills and Interventions for Suicide Prevention by Maricris Lad-ey.

Collectively the papers presented suicide figures in Benguet. They presented the factors that lead to suicide, the means, the socio demographic data of the suicide victims and recommended interventions.

In her study, Pasiwen said that suicide is a public health concern; yet, because it is culturally a taboo to openly discuss suicide among most people of Benguet, suicide has become a silent epidemic haunting the province as early as 1961.

Pasiwen’s study indicated that the actual suicide rate of three identified municipalities in Benguet, which is 35.17 per 100,000-population in the span of 11 years, exceeds the global annual mortality rate of 14.5 per 100,000 population as recorded by WHO.

The study Pansig’dan tried to bring light to the factors that caused such a high number of people who decided to end their own lives. Results of the study show that accessibility and availability of ‘means of suicide’ like pesticides have facilitated self-inflicted injuries. Likewise, the effects of family history, suicide clustering, and peer pressure can be very serious.

All the studies, however, have a common finding: there is no single factor that could predict suicide; there are always two or more factors at interplay.

“Although all suicides started as suicidal ideation, not all suicidal ideation leads to suicide,” says Fiangaan. He added that suicide ideation could either lead to the act or it could lead to a healthy fear of death to which he recommended that available professionals and community leaders should be trained in suicide crisis management.

The forum was attended by students, community members, leaders and policy makers. //JST