The Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the Natasha Goulborn Foundation and the National Center for Mental Heath have officially launched Hopeline Project, a phone-based counseling service available 24/7 to individuals who suffer from emotional crisis or depression.
Meanwhile, the centerpiece of the Hopeline Project is the availability of a hotline to address mental health issues. The national suicide prevention hotline numbers are (02) 804-HOPE (4673), 0917 558 HOPE (4673) and 2919 (toll-free numbers for all GLOBE and TM subscribers).
More than 800,000 people die by suicide every year or around one person every 40 seconds. The Philippines ranked 150 out of 170 countries in terms of suicide rates according to a report by the World Health Organization. The estimated number of suicides in the Philippines in 2012 was 2,558 or a suicide rate of 2.9 per 100,000 population. The annual global-age standardized suicide rate is 11.4 per 100,000 population.
While the Philippines has one of the lowest suicide rates, the crisis hotline hopes to remove the stigma on mental health issues among Filipinos. Natasha Goulbourn Foundation is also conducting campus caravans as part of its awareness campaign. Next year (2017), DOH will conduct a training program for public school teachers on “Wellness and Emotional Resilience for the Filipino youth.”
Natasha Goulborn Foundation posted an apology as the hotline experienced some technical glitches shortly after its launch.
Calls via the hotline are handled by a professional team of counselors trained to handle private and confidential information. For cases needing professional interventions, the DOH has tapped the mental health services of various DOH-accredited hospitals and private hospitals.
The Hopeline Project is part of the initiative of the DOH to bridge the gap in the mental health services offered in the country.