The COVID-19 pandemic threatened the lives of every individual in the world significantly. Aside from its posing dangers to our physical health, it has also reached and affected our very own soul. It did not only stopped in instilling fear towards the community. It also increased the likelihood of suicide cases globally. Especially to the hardworking workers or our fellow Oversea Filipino Workers abroad, the transmission of COVID-19 has brought them difficulties in these trying times.
According to Social Psychology Consultant Samira Al Dosari, the rate of suicide cases increased significantly during Kuwait’s pandemic. The nation’s authorities recorded about 40 suicide cases and 15 cases of failed attempts since late February. Most of these records came from Asian expatriates. During the holy month of Ramadan, the country registered three suicide cases of foreign residents, specifically a Ugandan, Egyptian, and Filipino. Since the beginning of the outbreak, suicide incidents increased by about 40 percent.
Looking at the recent figures, it is very disheartening to know that many citizens and residents, including our kapwa kababayans, have fallen into these tragic incidents. On my own, I am also aware of this growing concern that becomes more deadly than the COVID-19 disease itself. Therefore, I am going to share with you my encounter with a possible suicide case if help is not given immediately.
Emotionally and Physically Isolated COVID-19 Patient
Widespread fear and panic is the significant connotation within the community as we face the pandemic. Amid these circumstances, a person we will call Rose, contracted the COVID-19 disease as she received a positive result. It is inevitable that everyone will dismiss a COVID-19 patient due to its potential of infecting other people. (May mga kabayan tayo na pinagtatabuyan din sa kanilang mga lugar na kapwa Kabayan.)
The fear of getting infected has become everyone’s obstacle to helping other people. Therefore, she was immediately dismissed from her rented house. It is very painful to know that everyone will start pushing you away from them even if you have no intention of getting the disease in the first place. It became the reason why she decides to stay outside most of the time. Then the time comes when this psychological pain grew within her soul. (May mga kakilala rin siyang pinaalis sa kanilang mga bay dahil nagka-positive rin sa COVID-19 disease.)
Sitting silently on the staircase, her mind ran empty of all the things she could do to alleviate her struggle. Many of them are lost without any single idea of what to do or where to go. Calling the ambulance was her first choice, but the high number of COVID-19 cases kept the hospitals full. Despite the inaccessibility to healthcare, they remain positive that someday they can reach out to someone who can help and assist them in their current situation.
Because of the lockdown measures, work was not available, leaving them with empty pockets. Without any money, they do not have a place to stay. Not having someone to call for help put many of our Kabayans under challenging circumstances. Until the time came when Rose asked for assistance through a Facebook page whom I volunteered to manage. One of her close friends reported her situation because most of her housemates do not understand her anymore.
As she asked for help on the Facebook page, it was me who replied to her request. Maybe, it was indeed destiny that I was the one receiving her request. She came to me saying that she is tired of her back-breaking situation. From then on, I tried my best to contact the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait to pick her up. Giving her a good opportunity to be understood, and to receive medical attention was my goal in helping her.
Eventually, the Philippine Embassy assisted her, allowing her to receive medical treatment and advice on how to handle our individual COVID-19 situation. Through God’s grace, she got better as she received support from the right people. This is just an example of an incident that has a high risk of suicidal thoughts. It is because, during this depressing stage, our rational mind stops working. (Marami tayong maiisip na hindi maganda. Malilimutan natin kung ano ang pinaka-importante sa ating buhay.) As we live in this world, our life and the right state of mind is our priority.
Tips in Preventing Suicidal Thoughts
To prevent this kind of situation, everyone is encouraged to stay connected and maintain their relationships with their families and friends. It is because we can get emotional support and love from them. Because of technology, we can immediately contact our loved ones everywhere. We should take this advantage to maintain our relationships with our friends and families.
Together with it are sufficient hours of sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. As we stay within our homes, it is essential to keep ourselves physically active and not live sedentary lifestyles. Not being able to go outside is not an excuse for all these physical activities. We should always remember that a healthy life is a good life. Therefore, keep yourself physically active.
Last but not least is saying our daily prayers. Hope is something that we can find when we believe that God let these circumstances happen for a particular reason. Hence, we should not take it negatively. Instead, let us take it in the positive aspect that each of us can learn in this COVID-19 pandemic. Remember these words of God from Psalm 91.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”Psalm 91
Stay safe as we hope for a better tomorrow!
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