Semicolon Movement

December 16, 2017

Last October 5, 2017, actor, tv host, and comedian Joey de Leon’s comment about depression went viral and in spite of being known as a comedian, netizens were disgusted by his ‘ignorance.’

“Yung depression gawa gawa lang ng mga tao ‘yan. Gawa nila sa sarili nila,” de Leon said. “Huwag ninyong suportahan. Pabayaan niyo sila,” he added. The “Henyo Master” is a long known comedian in the country, which automatically makes him an influencer to the mass. And whatever he says gives a huge stake on anyone listening to his remarks.

Along with that, several headlines about depression, mental illness, and suicide became top hits on the newspaper, on television, and on social media.

Last October 12, TV Patrol featured a regular citizen and asked what it was like being depressed. He said, “I was applying for a job and back then, I was really skinny. I noticed that the one who was hired had a well-sculpted body.” To be fair, I felt disappointed that the report only said that the only way to combat depression is to have a positive outlook in life and to merely exercise. It also mentioned that “medicine” could cure depression.

Let’s look at the taboo topic this way. Depression is the state when “you no longer have the drive to pursue what used to make you feel passionate about.” This is not about being an occasional sloth. Commonly associated with sadness or grief, depression says a different story. Some people have the mindset that simply reversing how you feel (aka from sadness to happiness) could switch the problem into a solution, not knowing that this mindset actually ignores the situation and builds more chaos in the future. Living with or running away from the situation only makes it worse.

Exercise and some medications provide endorphins “happy hormones” to aid those with depression. However there are more ways to solve our problem with depression, and the best way is to fix how we view mental health. The more we think it is not serious, the less sufficient help we deliver, which is why suicide is another thing associated with depression. It’s taken in the wrong sense that depression is the cause of every suicide. Although depression is one of the most common mental illnesses among all ages, anxiety, stress disorder, and substance abuse are other factors of suicide too.

Project Semicolon is, “an organization dedicated to prevent suicide through raising awareness of public, educating communities, and equipping with the right tools so we can save lives.”

Inspired by the punctuation itself, semicolon awareness is used when one person wants to end his life but decided to continue. More people are changing their profile photos in social media, and some are inking their skin with semicolons. Even though the organization is found in Colorado, anyone could be a member of it online and could be a part of the movement. It matters because it could be anyone—the strangers you see, the friends that you have, the relatives you visit on Christmas, your significant other, or even your family. We need to unite together and realize that how we view mental illness is necessary to prevent the population to living with it permanently.