Prevent Suicide and Save Lives

Suicide is a serious health issue that needs our attention. It is the third leading cause of death in the world. It is estimated that one million people die by suicide every year. That is one death by suicide every 40 seconds. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress. It is not a harmless bid for attention and should not be ignored. It affects people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities. And what is worse is that it is preventable. Every 10th of September is Suicide Prevention Day. It is on this day that we take the opportunity to spread awareness about suicide and what people can do to help prevent it from happening.

To prevent suicide, we should be aware of the risk factors and warning signs to look out for. There is no single cause for suicide. There are different factors that influence someone to make a suicide attempt. Here are a few factors that can tell us who are most at risk for developing suicidal ideation:

suicide risk factors

Having these factors does not mean that they automatically contemplate suicide. This just means that the more risk factors that apply to them, the higher the chances are that they can develop suicidal ideation and that it would be better to check on them from time to time.

Another important factor to watch out for are the warning signs. These signs tell us that a person is already contemplating suicide and who needs our most immediate help.

suicide warning signs

If you think someone is contemplating suicide, do not panic! Here is what you can do:

  1. Ask them. Most of the time, asking the person if they are thinking of suicide is already a big help. Not only will this inform you of how serious the situation is, it also helps the person to express his or her emotions. Just simply expressing his or her emotions and having you to listen can save that person’s life.
  2. It is important that you empathize. Do not judge them or leave them alone. Listen carefully and learn what that person is thinking and feeling. Researchers suggest that acknowledging and talking about suicide reduces suicidal thoughts.
  3. Keep them safe. It is also important that you reduce their access to means of harming themselves. Reduce their access to highly lethal items, substances, or places. Make sure that his or her environment is safe.
  4. Stay connected. Simply checking in on how people are from time to time can also save lives. Ask them how they are, what they are doing, what is going on in their life, if they have any problems, or if they need any help. Studies have shown that the risk of death by suicide decreases when someone follows up with an at-risk person. This means that you can make a difference!
  5. Encourage them to reach out. This is the most important step. If you think someone is contemplating suicide, encourage them to reach out to a trusted family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.

Availing of a program with PowerVision EAP can help companies facilitate at-risk employees’ access to mental health services.  We can provide face to face counseling sessions and 24/7 phone counseling to help at-risk employees deal with their suicidal thoughts and behaviors.  We also assist our clients in preparing for and handling crisis situations such as suicide, workplace violence, disasters, and individual traumatic incidents. Providing these services to employees not only helps their mental health but can save their lives as well. Contact us for more information!

 

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#StoptheSTIGMA

One in five Filipinos suffers from a form of mental illness. In 2016, anxiety is the most prevalent mental illness in the Philippines. This is followed by depression, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. And yet, a lot of people are still unaware of the issues surrounding mental health. Because of this, there is still a lot of stigma and discrimination towards those who are living with mental health problems. Common responses towards mental illness are “Nasa isip mo lang iyan” or “Gawa-gawa lang iyan.”

Unfortunately, stigma and discrimination prevent people from seeking the help that they need. Misconceptions towards those who are mentally ill bring them shame and cause them to hide their problems. For example, when people say that the depression that an individual is experiencing is “gawa-gawa lang,” this causes that individual to think that what he or she is experiencing is not real, or that what he or she is experiencing is somehow his or her fault or doing. This prevents that person with depression to seek help because he or she thinks that it is not real.

stigma

What can you do to change this?

  • Offer your support to those who are struggling. Lend a shoulder or an ear. It is important for those who are living with mental illness to have a support system. Just being a friend who is willing to listen can already help a lot.
  • Choose empowerment over shame. Empower yourself and others rather than shame them for their mental health condition. Shaming them will prevent them from seeking the help that they need. Empowering them will not only encourage them to seek help, but it will also give them hope and encourage them to overcome these challenges.
  • See the person, not the illness. A person is not defined by his or her mental health condition. Instead of focusing on the person’s illness, see the person for who he or she is: A person who more than his or her mental health condition.
  • Be open to conversations about mental health. For those who are living with mental illness, do not be afraid or ashamed to talk about what it is like. And for those who are not living with mental illness, do not be afraid to listen. Meeting people who are living with a mental health condition or people who are experts in the field and listening to them helps us understand each other and corrects all those stereotypes and misconceptions about mental health.
  • Use respectful language. Language matters. The way you speak also affects the way you think. So, framing your language to be more respectful and to address the person rather than the illness will help change the way we perceive mental health and those who are living with mental illness. respectful language
  • Learn about mental health to educate yourself and others. Never stop learning. The lack of knowledge feeds our fear and our misconceptions. Use every opportunity to learn what you can about mental health and share that knowledge with others.
  • Take action to raise awareness. There are many ways you can take action to raise awareness online and offline. Search for resources and opportunities around you to help raise awareness on mental health and fight the stigma.
  • Be an advocate for positive change. Include mental health awareness and support in your daily life, whether it is at work or at home.

PowerVision can help employers and companies stop mental health stigma through our educational talks and workshops. We also provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) or workplace counseling services to help employees deal with personal and work-related issues that impact their performance. Contact us for more information.

References:

The Philippine Mental Health Law and What It Means For Your Company

Reports say that 1 in 5 Filipino adults suffer from a form of mental illness. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that an average of 7 Filipinos died by suicide each day. These statistics are certainly alarming. But it is not all bad news because last Jun 21st, President Duterte finally signed the Mental Health Law, providing Filipinos with affordable and accessible mental health services. But what does that mean for companies and employers?

Chapter V, Sec. 25 of the Mental Health Law states that:

“Employers shall develop appropriate policies and programs on mental health in the workplace designed to (1) raise awareness on mental health issues; (2) correct the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions; (3) identify and provide support for individuals at risk; and (4) facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support.”

The Mental Health Law does not only cover public mental health services, but it also covers the promotion of mental health and policies in the workplace. So, what can you do as an employer, or a company, to implement this? Here is what we suggest:

1. Raise Awareness on Mental Health Issues

A lot of people are unaware of mental health issues and how they affect us. It is important to remember that mental health is more than the absence of a mental disorder. You do not have to be diagnosed with a disorder for you to say that you have a mental health problem. And not all mental health problems mean that you automatically have a mental disorder. Stress, burnout, grief, communication, and interpersonal problems are some forms of mental health issues that can affect an individual’s functioning. Various mental health problems can affect employees and businesses through increased absenteeism and reduced production. Raising awareness about mental health can help prevent and address these issues.

PowerVision EAP can help employers and companies raise awareness about these issues through our educational talks and workshops. Aside from raising awareness, our talks and workshops can also help employees handle life’s common issues before they blow up into bigger problems. Our services can provide employees with insight and awareness about the mental health of others and their own as well.

2. Correct the Stigma and Discrimination Associated with Mental Health Conditions

The lack of awareness of mental health issues also means a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about these issues and the people who have them. Some people believe that mental health problems cannot be treated, that mental health problems are a personal weakness, that mental health problems are not real, or that it is something to be hidden or kept a secret from others. A common Filipino response towards mental health would be, “Nasa isip mo lang iyan.” Unfortunately, these stigmatizing attitudes not only results in discrimination in the workplace, but it can also cause shame and prevent people from seeking help.

PowerVision EAP can also help employers and companies correct the stigma through our talks and workshops. We also extend our expertise to client managers, supervisors, and HR personnel through consultations on handling troubled employees. Through these consultations and workshops, we can work together with you to better understand mental health and how to effectively handle those who suffer from mental health problems.

3. Identify and Provide Support for Individuals at Risk

It is important to recognize the various risk factors and individuals who may be at risk so that we can provide the necessary support that they need. Risk factors include a complex combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. For example, some risk factors at work can include:

  • Excessive workload
  • Insufficient work
  • Role conflict
  • Lack of recognition of work
  • Low status
  • Inadequate social support in the workplace
  • The perception that the workplace is not just or equitable
  • Unsupportive supervision
  • Poor relationships with colleagues
  • Bullying, harassment, or violence
  • Isolated or solitary work
  • Irregular working hours
  • Poor communication
  • Poor leadership
  • Conflicting demands at home and at work
  • Lack of support for home at work, and vice versa

Employers and companies can provide support for their employees by maintaining a stress-free work environment. Employees can also anonymously avail short-term counseling interventions from PowerVision EAP for any personal and work-related concerns. PowerVision EAP counselors can help employees enhance their life skills through coaching. We also have legal and financial consultants that can provide employees with helpful information to plan their next steps on personal and family concerns that involve financial and legal issues. Depending on the program that you choose for your company, our services may also be extended to cover the dependents of your employees. Aside from that, PowerVision also assists EAP clients in preparing for and handling crisis situations, such as workplace violence, suicide, disasters, and individual traumatic incidents.

4. Facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support.

Availing a program with PowerVision EAP can help you facilitate your employees’ access to mental health services. PowerVision can provide face to face counseling sessions and 24/7 phone counseling to help employees deal with personal and work-related issues that impact their performance. Providing these services to your employees can help their mental health, as well as improve their attendance and performance at work. Contact us for more information!

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Mental Health of Fathers

The transition to parenthood is a very important life event for everyone. It is a complex process that requires adjustment to the profound changes in a person’s lifestyle, relationships, and identity. Sometimes, a new parent may have difficulty coping with this transition, which leads to psychological disturbances like Postpartum Depression (PPD).

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a mood episode that happens either during pregnancy or after pregnancy. It is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • persistent sadness
  • anxiety
  • low esteem
  • irritability
  • sleep & appetite changes
  • guilt
  • insomnia
  • suicidal ideation
  • loneliness
  • dysphoria

PPD is usually known to be associated with mothers, affecting 10 to 13% of women worldwide. It makes it difficult to take care of oneself during and after pregnancy. It also makes it difficult for the parent to cope with the normal developmental tasks of child care.

But did you know that Dad’s get affected by PPD too?

Recent studies have shown that 8% of fathers suffer from postpartum depression. Of course, the experience of PPD is different for mothers and fathers. It usually manifests in dads through the following symptoms:

  • anger attacks
  • self-criticism
  • affective rigidity
  • alcohol & drug abuse
  • bowel problems
  • headache
  • toothache
  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • exhaustion
  • increased or decreased appetite

Parenting stress is influenced by the role of the parent, the parent’s expectations and perceptions of his or her child, the parent’s characteristics, and the parent’s interaction with the child. A combination of biological, psychological, and social factors distorts the parent’s adaptive reaction to stressors and makes them more vulnerable to PPD.

Mental health issues in parents have been known to negatively affect children. It is also known that when a mother is severely depressed, the risk for paternal depression increases. However, it is also said that fathers could increase the risk of maternal depression if they are depressed or absent.

Clearly, parenting is a team effort that requires both parents to support and help each other during this challenging time.

So what can we do?

INVOLVE AND SUPPORT FATHERS. 

Partners, friends, support groups, & mental health professionals can support & help struggling dads to find meaning, contentment, & pride in their new roles as well as cope effectively with their anxieties & doubts.

Involving dads in childcare gives them the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate being a father. They gain a new sense of meaning and satisfaction in being a father when they are regarded as more than just the breadwinner of the family. Spending time with children, caring for them, playing with them, and interacting with them can also be very healing and can give parents a lot of emotional benefit.

Involved and supported dads are also beneficial for the whole family. Involved dads can help children with academic problems and protect them from developing behavior problems. They also become emotionally healthy and are more able have a lasting positive impact on their children’s emotional well being. Children benefit from fathers who are able to model and handle emotions effectively.

Emotionally healthy fathers also improve their partner’s mental health. Emotionally responsive and supportive fathers have partners who are less stressed, anxious, and depressed. This can be very helpful especially for mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression.

Provide support by reaching out to struggling parents and listen to them. Show that you are there for them and willing to support them in their times of trouble.

If you are a parent experiencing PPD, know that you are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Allow yourself time to adjust to the new changes in your life and give yourself space to relax. It is important to always remain healthy and to create a support network that you can rely on. Being a parent is a challenging task and it is normal to be anxious and scared of this new chapter in your life.

If you are struggling with the challenges of parenthood or know someone who does,  you may need to reach out to a friend or a professional counselor.

PowerVision provides Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) or workplace counseling services to companies and organizations in the Philippines. We help employees of our client companies deal with personal and work-related issues that impact their performance, such as the challenges of parenting and parenthood.

 

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Make Your Relationships Last Forever!

In her book “Creating Connection”, marital therapist Susan Johnson asserts that relationship problems arise when one or both partners’ need for safety and security in the relationship are not met.  If you want your relationship to last forever, you need to work on being that safe and secure person that your partner would long to go home to after a difficult day.  You would be the shoulder to cry on when they’re hurt, or the best friend they can share their deepest thoughts and feelings with.  Here are a few things you can do to develop a safe and lasting relationship:

 

TeddyBear

Love your partner unconditionally.  Accept their flaws and strange habits.  Validate how they are feeling even if it does not make sense to you.  Let go of minor irritants and discuss important issues objectively and lovingly.

Have other sources of strength, such as close friends, your parents, or God.   So when your partner is having a bad day, you can still love unconditionally because you can “recharge” from another source.

Be honest and faithful.  Nothing can destroy a relationship faster than a painful betrayal of trust.  If you find your heart straying,  discuss this openly with your partner before it progresses into an affair.  Examine what is missing in your relationship that you can work on together.

If you feel that your relationship is on the rocks, a counselor may be able to help you sort out your differences and build up your relationship.

 

Tips on keeping your new year’s resolutions

For those who made new year’s resolutions …. are you still keeping them by now?  If you are struggling, then you are like most other people.  Statistics show that only 8% of people stick with their resolutions by the end of the year.  How can you be one of those 8%?

Here are some tips:

  1. Choose resolutions that you really really want to achieve.  Motivation is key!
  2. Take small steps, and celebrate your successes frequently.
  3. When you fail or get discouraged, remember why you want to achieve this goal and start again.  Make a new day’s resolution!

For more tips, watch this interview with Jean Lim.

 

 

 

Simplifying Relationships

Do relationships really have to be stressful and complicated?

Whether you are struggling with romantic, family or work relationships, there are ways to keep things simple between you and the people you care for:

Cheerleading Clipart

Be a cheerleader to others.  Make it a habit to find something good to say to your partner, family members or co-workers every day, and you will soon feel better about each other!

If you really have to say something negative, suggest the opposite, positive behavior instead.  “I wish you can be on time” is more encouraging than “I wish you won’t be late”.  Focus on the behavior and not the person.  You can say “Please just remind me
once” instead of “You’re such a nagger!”.

calm-down-intro

Keep cool when the other person is too emotional.  A shouting match is not likely to resolve your conflict. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.   If needed, suggest that you discuss the matter when both of you are more calm and objective.

Keeping our relationships healthy and strong takes time and effort, but once you develop good communication habits, it will be much simpler and most rewarding!

Empowering People @ Work