PHL gov’t seeks help of religious leaders to address rise in suicide cases amid pandemic

(Eagle News) — The Philippine government is seeking the help of various church and religious leaders to “stave off” the rising number of suicide cases in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought unprecedented economic difficulties and widespread infections that has resulted in almost 3,000 deaths in the country.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra made the appeal after receiving information from the National Task Force against COVID-19 about the “alarming increase” in suicides since the start of the pandemic.

Guevarra said he received a phone call on Augus 22 from Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementor of the national task force on the spike in the number of suicides “during these pandemic times.”

The Department of Justice secretary said that he has already relayed his call to all religious groups so the church leaders can help to provide counsel and guidance to their members and followers who are undergoing depression due to the loss of jobs or livelihood, loss of loved ones due to COVID-19, loneliness because of the lockdown, and feeling of hopeless amid these trying times.

“I share Sec. Galvez’s concern and respectfully request our spiritual leaders to bring this much-needed message of hope to our suffering countrymen in order to stave off more incidents of self-destruction,” Guevarra said over the weekend.

While government authorities did not give any numbers, health authorities have earlier expressed concern that mental health problems would be rising as the pandemic worsens.

Worldwide, mental health problems were on the rise because of the pandemic.

As of Monday, confirmed COVID-19 infections reached more than 23 million, while virus related fatalities topped 800,000.

In the Philippines, total cases reached almost 190,000, with active cases at over 55,000.  Philippine COVID- 19 recoveries or survivors reached 131,367, while total deaths reached almost 3,000 as of Sunday, Aug. 23.

(Eagle News Service)