The University of Baguio launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness on depression and reducing the stigma that comes with the illness by creating positive, fact-based, and hopeful messages about teen depression.
The campaign focuses on highlighting the facts central to understanding depression – its nature, causes, symptoms, and treatment. It employs a heightened information, education, and communication campaign through the use of various media such as posters, tarpaulins, videos, and infographics.
“It’s the first step to getting people know what depression is. We struggle with understanding depression, with mental illness in general. People suffering from depression are misconstrued as insane or psycho. They are dismissed as overly dramatic. It’s sad that that’s the kind of perception we have towards depression,” said Ronalyn Banaken of the UB Media Affairs and Publications (MAP), which initiated the campaign.
“Having such mental illness is not a sign of weakness or character flaw. It’s real and it’s treatable. More importantly, there’s a way out of depression. It (can) definitely get better,” she said.
Banaken said the office is looking forward to organizing sessions where speakers can share their thoughts or experiences or a concert to boost the campaign.
UB-MAP is working with Miss UB winners for the campaign. The launching featured Ms. UB 2016 Zsan Kathreen Anne Botiwey and Ms. UB 2015 Alianah Yen.
“It started with some friends talking about their friends and acquaintances having some suicidal thoughts. Yen said a classmate just hurt himself and was rushed to the hospital. It’s disturbing. The numbers are minimal, but we don’t have to wait for the figures to escalate before we do something,” said Banaken, who conceptualized the project with Yen.