Mental-disorder cases up in Cebu

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THE Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) psychiatric department has expressed alarm over the increasing number of mental disorder cases in Cebu – from 8,000 in 2010 to 16,000 at present.

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VSMMC psychiatric department head Milan Ratunil said the hospital has a facility for mental patients but it cannot absorb all the cases brought to the center because of budget constraints.

Ratunil cited a study they conducted showing that most of the cases brought to the VSMMC psychiatric facility were suffering from depression and most of them were female 30 years old and above.

He expressed dismay over a recent statement of comedian and television host Joey de Leon, who downplayed depression, saying it is not to be taken seriously as “depressed people are only craving attention.”
Ratunil said depression is not a joke.

“At any rate, I am happy that Joey de Leon drew a lot of criticism for his statement but on a positive note, it drew interest and public attention to the reality that depression is an illness and that people who suffer from this mental disorder must have medical attention,” he pointed out.

Ratunil said people should be aware of the different symptoms of depression so that they can get proper medical help or attend to loved ones suffering from it.

Among these symptoms are very low morale and dark moods, drastic loss of weight, psycho-motor retardation, guilt and social dysfunction.

“Highly depressed people are prone to commit suicide. Those who are suffering from mental illness need comfort and love. They should not be trivialized or at worse ignored,” Ratunil said.

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