Possible link between social media, depression being studied: DOH

MANILA — Local experts are looking into the possible link between social media and the upward trend of depression among young people, after global studies showed an 18 percent spike in depression rates from 280 million persons in 2005 to 322 million in 2015, a health official said Friday.

In a press briefing for the commemoration of World Health Day, which this year focuses on depression, Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson, Dr. Eric Tayag, noted that local experts are checking the contribution of bashing in the social media to depression.

“Some people have difficulty coping with such bashing, that is why we want to protect them, especially our adolescents — they are very vulnerable at (this age),” said Tayag.

He confirmed that research studies are currently being done by experts and that the department is waiting for the results but studies will also be done by academic institutions and suicide prevention groups, and results will be presented to the media once the data have been collected and interpreted.

Tayag said they are also monitoring the calls made to Hopeline numbers 0917558HOPE or 0917-558-4673.

The hotline was launched last year by the DOH together with partners, Globe Telecom Company and the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation, to reach out to people suffering from depression and encourage them to talk to someone willing to listen.

Based on the latest data, Hopeline received 3,479 calls from January to December last year. Of the figure, 902 calls were made by teenagers, and 1,902 by young adults aged 20 to 39 years old.

Some 60 of them called because they were depressed; 496 wanted information on depression and suicide; 479 were stressed out and possibly depressed; 111 were possibly suicidal; 31 were being bullied; and 14 had low self-esteem. Leilani Junio/PNA-northboundasia.com