Cabaero: Ask FB’s help in mental health push

Nini B. Cabaero

A psychologist has called for greater awareness of mental health issues following a suicide done live on a social network.

For this awareness campaign to be effective, this should be implemented on social media, Facebook in particular, where the suicide of a 21-year-old woman last week was done on Facebook Live, the live-streaming capability of the platform.

Dr. Ana Kathrina Oaminal-Watin, a licensed psychologist, told SunStar Cebu there should be awareness on how to respond to persons with issues on their psychological and emotional well-being. She said national government can find ways to make mental health become more affordable and available in the grassroots level.

Challenges to mental health are the stigma attached to people seeking treatment from a psychologist and the costs of getting medical help. “It is not affordable to all. Most health insurances in the country do not cover mental health,” Watin said.

A Mental Health Act, still a proposal, could address these issues when it is passed into law, she said.

The young woman who committed suicide in front of her daughter did it on Facebook Live where it was possible for people to view. The video has since been removed by Facebook.

Creating awareness on mental health issues could be extended to the platform used, Facebook.

Awareness-generation is not a concern limited to the government or medical specialists or affected families. This is a campaign that Facebook itself should be able to do something about because the ease in showing video live could have been a factor in the woman’s suicide.

It is impossible to know now why she decided to broadcast live her death or if she would still commit suicide if there were no Facebook Live. But the platform is there and Facebook should be asked to support mental health awareness and prevent suicides on the social network.

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Senior citizens will soon be entitled to a 20 % discount on online flight bookings, an improvement that would spare them the trip to airline ticket offices.

A forum to discuss this development will be held on Thursday, July 20, at 1 p.m. at the Cebu City Hall social hall legislative building. Retired members of the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System are invited to this discussion with Department of Trade and Industry officials.

This grant of discount is a development that would be welcomed by retirees who had to go to airline offices to present a senior citizens identification card and personally book a flight. The privilege will be extended also to persons with disabilities. It did not make sense to require the elderly and those in wheelchairs to take the trip to the booking office.

Others matters to be discussed in the forum will be benefits that retirees may get from the Department of Labor and Employment and the petition for the release by SSS of the additional P1,000 in pension. The invitation to the forum was made by the Cebu Advocates for Progress and Development whose president, Martiniana Mercado, may be reached at 09284038695.