Veteran host-comedian Joey De Leon apologized today, October 6, on Eat Bulaga after his comments on depression on live television angered many people.
"Habang nabubuhay po tayo, e natututo po tayo ng mga bagong bagay-bagay. Nagkamali po ako," De Leon said. He shared his wife, Eileen Macapagal-De Leon, schooled him on the matter the minute he arrived home. He added he learned his lesson, and he hoped the incident will bring awareness on mental health.
Joey made the remarks during an interview with "Sugod Bahay" winner, Maria Cristina, who disclosed her doctor said she has depression.
"Yung depression, gawa-gawa lang nga tao yan," Joey quipped. Co-host Maine Mendoza tried to correct Joey, saying depression is not a joke. "Kasi maraming nakakaranas noon, lalo na sa mga kabataan. Kaya dapat kung mayroong nakakaranas ng ganoon, bigyan nating ng supporta," she said as her fellow actor, Alden Richards, agreed.
However, Joey replied, "Hindi, huwag ninyong suportahan. Gawa gawa lang niya yun. Pabayaan niyo." The 70-year-old host-comedian further added people diagnosed with depression are "nagpapasosyal lang."
"Pag mayaman, depressed. Pag mahirap, wala, wala ka ng pag-asa sa buhay. Ganun yun eh."
The host-comedian made the comments four days before the National Mental Health Week set by the Department of Health (DOH) on October 9 to 13.
We're glad Joey quickly apologized and acknowledged his mistaken view of depression. Postpartum depression, for starters, affects one in seven women around the world who are pregnant or have just given birth.
On SmartParenting.com.ph's Facebook, moms would share their real-life accounts on the illness each time we shared stories on postpartum depression. This morning, many called out Joey for his remarks.
(You can read the rest of the comments here, here and here.)
Depression is the leading cause of disease-related disability. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression. It is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. If not treated people, depression can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds globally.
"There is nothing hilarious about suffering. Nothing comical about suicide rates. There is nothing funny about being left in the dark," read the statement posted by the Youth for Mental Health Coalition on its Facebook. "The sad truth is that these same ideas may be shared not uncommonly by people around us - extending the struggle to providing a new perspective to people who view depression through uninformed lenses."
The ADSP also took to Facebook to call for more accountability from celebrities and stressed that experts and doctors are more authorized to speak about mental illness. "We all have opinions, and that's okay, but when you are a public figure, you are an automatic public influencer, you can either do good or harm so please be careful most especially when talking about a serious matter," the ASDP's post read.
This should serve as a call to our government to enact a mental health law as soon as possible. The Senate has already approved the Mental Health Act, bringing mental health services one step closer to becoming affordable and accessible to all Filipinos through the public health system. It will also provide more resources for mental health education and awareness, so we all know the comments we should never make when it comes to mental health.
If you think you may have depression or know someone who is suffering from it or other mental health depression, contact the DOH's 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, HOPELINE, (02) 804.4637; (09170 558.4673; and 2919 for Globe and TOM subscribers. PhilHealth now also covers treatment for mental health disabilities.