Depression, like many other mental illnesses, is real. Like other diseases, upon proper diagnosis by a mental health professional, it can also be treated. However, in the Philippines, talk of mental health continues to be stigmatized especially in the local culture, where depression is dismissed as sadness or “pag–iinarte“, and laughter and resilience amidst struggle are encouraged.
The truth, however, is that mental illness is far from being a laughing matter. Mental health is and should be a public health concern: data from the World Health Organization shows that an estimated number of 3.2 million people in the Philippines live with depression. A report from CNN cites statistics from the National Center for Mental Health, with projected suicide rates of 2.5 for men and 1.7 for women per 100,000 people, not accounting for unreported cases.
Despite these figures, however, there is a long-standing stigma and discrimination against mental health, with public figures like Eat! Bulaga host Joey de Leon only proving the point. At today’s Juan for All, All for Juan segment, the host made some controversial comments on depression, while co-host Jose Manalo was interviewing the sugod-bahay winner, Maria Cristina, who shared that her mother had depression.
Jose: Anong sakit ni nanay?
Maria Cristina: Depression po.
Jose: Bakit? Iyang bang depression nakukuha ba iyan dahil depressed ka, ganun ba iyon?
Maria Cristina: Ang sabi lang po nung doktor, depression tapos yung katandaan cause makakalimutin na po.
Joey: Yung depression, gawa-gawa lang ng mga tao iyan. Gawa nila sa sarili nila.”
Joey’s deriding comments on depression apparently did not sit well with Maine Mendoza, aka Yaya Dub, who defended the condition. According to Maine:
“Hindi biro yang depression. Hindi siya joke. Hindi kasi maraming nakakaranas ng ganun lalo na sa mga kabataan. Kaya pag may nakakaranas ng ganun, kailangan natin bigyan natin ng suporta.”
Love team partner Alden Richards also agreed with Maine’s sentiments.
Still, Joey de Leon insisted: “Hindi, huwag n’yo suportahan. Gawa-gawa lang nila iyon.”
Joey’s comments did not sit well with netizens, who praised Maine for standing up to the veteran host despite finding her fame on Eat! Bulaga.
When a newbie like Maine Mendoza understands more what is depression compared to a veteran, Joey de Leon –Thank you Maine.
I am now a fan.
— NIÑA (@ninstweet) October 5, 2017
Maine Mendoza standing up against Joey De Leon’s insensitive comment about depression is the best thing that ever happened today. I stan!
— spooky ng ina mo (@thegorgeouswolf) October 5, 2017
Kudos to Maine Mendoza on how important it is to support someone with depression. For Joey De Leon, older doesn’t always mean wiser eh?
— Jill Ramirez (@jillangela) October 5, 2017
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