Health and Fitness

Paulo Avelino Opens Up About Suicide and Mental Health

The actor shares his mental health issues with the public for the first time.
IMAGE Koji Arboleda
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There is a stigma cast around mental health that prevents people from talking about it, especially for men. Men talking about their mental health may be beyond the concept of what society traditionally sees as “manly.”  Yesterday, actor Paulo Avelino broke that stigma by speaking out about his struggles with depression. 

“You’re probably wondering why I am here,” began Avelino when he took to the microphone during an event on mental health awareness organized by the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation. According to him, it was his first time to publicly share his invisible war with depression. It got so bad that at one point, he sought to find a quick way out. “Years ago, I slit my wrists. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for my two best friends,” he said.

Avelino recently lost one of those two best friends he mentioned to depression. “One night, he texted me. ‘I can’t take it anymore,’ he said. I just told him to ride it out, I lent him my bike. I was busy with work, which usually finishes early in the morning. He died of depression,” Avelino said while tearing up. “I couldn’t be there for my best friend who would immediately be there for me on a single text I send.”

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(Warning graphic content, content that can trigger those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses) RARELY do I share personal stuff on my social media accounts but I think its time I talked about this dark period in my life because I know that someone out there is going through the same thing. I want you to know that everybody has issues and sometimes you seeing other people have them will help you cope with your own. Years back I found myself in a place where I only saw one way out. I went through a spiralling journey of Depression and suicidal thoughts. Where everything seemed like nothing matters anymore. Locked myself at home, turned down almost every job that came in and shut myself off from work, friends, family, the world. I am introvert. And as an introverted person I was so used to keeping my thoughts to myself. Even when I wanted to share stuff, I truly didn’t know how to. I didn't know how to voice out all these feelings and thoughts inside me.So here I am sharing with you guys that even the people who appear to be okay or who seem to “have it all” might be going through their own struggles, fighting their own demons. Please, dont be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, and loved ones. Often times people will brush it off thinking it's nothing to be concerned about or it's a small matter. Don't be scared to voice out what you feel no matter how hard it is. Never lose HOPE. If you arent ready to open up to the people closest to you, you can also reach out and call hopeline

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Avelino emphasized the immeasurable importance of being present for someone who is battling depression or mental illness. On his Instagram, he revealed that even people who seem to have everything could experience depression: 

“Years back I found myself in a place where I only saw one way out. I went through a spiraling journey of depression and suicidal thoughts,” wrote Avelino. “[It] seemed like nothing mattered anymore. Locked myself at home, turned down almost every job that came in and shut myself off from work, friends, family, the world.

“I am [an] introvert. And as an introverted person, I was so used to keeping my thoughts to myself. Even when I wanted to share stuff, I truly didn’t know how to. I didn't know how to voice out all these feelings and thoughts inside me. So here I am sharing with you guys that even the people who appear to be okay or who seem to have it all might be going through their own struggles, fighting their own demons.

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“Please, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, and loved ones. Often times people will brush it off thinking it's nothing to be concerned about or it's a small matter. Don't be scared to voice out what you feel no matter how hard it is. Never lose HOPE.”

Avelino urged people who are suffering from depression or mental illness to reach out to people, open up to their closest friends. Another option is to call Hopeline, a suicide prevention and emotional crisis hotline.

Hopeline is the only 24/7 hotline for suicide prevention in the country. It is operated by 18 responders. Its hotlines are:

  • 804 HOPE (4673)
  • 0917 558 HOPE (4673)
  • 2919 (toll-free for Globe subscribers)

In 2016, reported cases of suicide in the Philippines were at 2,413. Of that number, more than 2,000 cases were male. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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