Category Archives: Psychology

Pinoys are not Suicidal



     Years ago, I had a chance to work as a production researcher in two of the TV production shows of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network. These were Today with Kris and Talk TV.  My first project was about SUICIDE. As a neophyte in the field, I didn’t realize how hard that first assignment was for me.  It was a delicate matter for the victims to talk about because most people who’ve had suicide attempts were hesitant to share their ordeal.

            In the course of my research, I was stunned to find out that there was a significant number of persons with suicidal tendencies and those that have attempted to take their lives.

            According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Philippines had suicide rates (per 100,000) of  2.5 for men and 1.7 for women as of 1993. Of course, this may sound appalling for Filipinos but the numbers are way too small compared to those in western countries.

            The Philippines has one of the world’s lowest suicide rates.  This is also shown in the 2000 Philippine Health Statistics from the Department of Health (DOH). The DOH reported that only 1.8 per 100,000 people have inflicted harm on themselves. On the other hand, European countries had the highest figures which ranged from 30 to 42 per 100,000.


The Pill of Life Called Humor


            To many people, life is one tough affair to handle.  Working 24 hours a day, having to take care of a sick child, finding ways to stop the devaluation of the dollar against other currencies, understanding why teens seem to hate their folks, managing one’s relationship and looking for solutions to attain normalcy in life are no laughing matters.  It is a given fact that people of all ages and all walks of life face problems.  Fortunately for some, their obstacles are far more complex than that of others’.  But then, problems are subjective, aren’t they? There is just one big truth that people have to accept – life is a can of worms.

             Finding solutions to problems can be very taxing and stressful.  It may take away the energy and zest in life. However, there is a very effective way to ease out woes and cares. It may even fix a bad situation at hand. Humor is the answer. This age-old concept is an essential of life. Without it, suicide stats would have increased dramatically. Society would have been enveloped with the strong stigma of untimely deaths. To get through life with satisfaction one should take it seriously, but to sprinkle it with funniness can make a whole lot of difference. Each circumstantial challenge in life can be viewed with a sense of humor.

            “Humor is just another defense against the universe,” American comedian/filmmaker Mel Brooks once said. 

            Indeed, with hilariousness, life is filled with beautiful complications.  Silence can be a powerful tool in proving a point but nothing can be more powerful and spontaneous than the sound of a thunderous laughter shared by a group of friends who may hold different perspectives or argue on some issues. Laughter enhances relationships.

            Without a comedian’s whim based on his tragic or personal battles, jokes would not have been written and wouldn’t have made people laugh. Hence, there is proliferation of comedy films and videos, standup comedy set-ups, amusing poetry slam competitions or grossly funny-themed books… and they sell big time. Humor is a serious business, as a matter of fact.

            A humor break is as important as a cigarette or coffee break in the workplace.  While one worker is daunted and angered by the stress brought about by the changes and challenges at work, and a group of may throw curses at their employer, a colleague or two may find ways to make everybody laugh about their situation. Laughing lightens up difficulties and makes things a lot easier. Just make sure the bosses aren’t listening.

            The value of hilarity among healthcare patients and professionals is quite priceless.  As what the cliché says, laughter is the best medicine.  Although science would argue about this, time and again, this old notion has never died.  In fact, studies with new developments have been continuously gaining popularity.  Norman Cousins was an American political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate. He served as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he researched on the biochemistry of human emotions.  He believed that taking high doses of vitamin C and laughter contributed to his recovery from ankylosis spondylitis.  The author explained that 10 minutes of laughter resulted in two hours of pain-free sleep. 

            Melissa B. Wanzer, EdD, professor of communication studies at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York conducted a series of research on how humor aids medical workers cope with their demanding jobs. According to Wanzer and her team of researchers, when used appropriately, humor is quite instrumental in coping with stress on the job.

            “If employees view their managers as humor-oriented, they also view them as more effective,” Wanzer further explained.

            So when approached with a bit of bitterness in life, people can try to put a little flavor of salt or sugar in it.  They can turn a problem into an opportunity to laugh or just to smile by doing the following:

  1. Laugh at oneself.
  2. Do something new and hilarious (Probably with the hair… It grows anyway).
  3. Talk to kids.
  4. Sing out loudly.
  5. Look back and view old pictures (Post them in Facebook).
  6. Listen to people whose wit nurtures cheerfulness.
  7. Watch comedy flicks, sitcoms and talk shows.
  8. Bond with high school or college friends.
  9. Take time to smile (Tip: Looking at oneself at the mirror always generates a smile in an instant).
  10. Do not prioritize money.  It is a major cause of emotional anxiety.