The Department of Health launched on Tuesday the “Hopeline Project” to strengthen its campaign to prevent suicides in the country.
“Hopeline” is a phone-based counseling service available 24 hours every day to individuals who suffer from crisis situations and depression.
DoH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said the project was a collaboration with the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF) and Globe Communications.
Also present in the launch was the World Health Organization country director in the Philippines, Dr. Gundo Weiler.
The launching was done at the DoH Media Relations Unit in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
September 10 is celebrated worldwide as Suicide Prevention Day.
Ubial said the project fills the lack of mental health services in the country under the DoH “Health for All” campaign.
She added that with the help of NGF and Globe, the Hopeline project that was started in Cebu by NGF will now be expanded to the whole country to assist Filipinos with suicidal tendencies.
Ubial said the DoH-National Capital Region Regional Office and the National Center for Mental Health are behind the tie-up to enhance the mental health program as desired by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The NCMH and the DOH will train psychiatrists and psychologists to entertain troubled callers.
Aside from personnel for the training, the necessary equipment will be provided by the department.
Globe Communications will provide the technology for the crisis hotline.
She said the project will run on three C’s—Connect, Communicate and Care—which is also the theme for the 2016 World Suicide Prevention Day.
The numbers to call are the following: (02) 805-HOPE (4673); 0917 558 HOPE (4673) and 2919.
These numbers are toll-free for GLOBE and TM subscribers.
She said that callers can also connect to national assistance number of 8888 which will then channel the calls to Hopeline.
Based on the estimate of the World Health Organization, about 800,000 people die by suicide globally each year.
“That’s one person every 40 seconds,” the Health chief said.
The estimated number of suicides in the country in 2012 was 2,558 (550 females, 2008 males) or a suicide rate of 2.9 per 100,000 population.
The country, however, has the lowest rank in the suicide rates in comparison with other Association of Southeast Asian Nations member-states.
The Philippines ranks 150th among 170 countries in terms of suicide incidence, according to the WHO report.
Jean Goulbourn, NGF president, they developed modules for school children and coordinated with the Department of Education.
Those in the Hopeline who take the calls explain that suicide is not an option and there are ways to deal with it, like talking to a doctor who can manage the condition.