28-year-old model Helena Belmonte was found dead early Thursday morning (March 20, 2014) after falling off the 28th floor of the Renaissance Tower. Her body was sprawled on an air-conditioning vent on the 7th floor of the building. A suicide note confirmed that she did indeed take her own life.
According to reports, Helena was drinking in her condominium unit with her boyfriend, art dealer Marcel Crespo, and some friends before the incident. They told police that Helena went inside her bedroom, and when she didn't come back a few minutes later, they went in to check up on her and found her lifeless 11 floors down.
Though seemingly happy and cheerful in most of her posts on Instagram and Facebook, Helena also showed signs of depression.
On March 9, 2014, she posted on her Twitter account: "Slash my wrists and hope to die…"
On March 12, 2014, she posted a comic strip on her Instagram account that read, "Perhaps if I didn’t try to fill the emptiness I wouldn’t feel it." The post was accompanied by her own caption, "I won’t be getting out of bed today."
Her last post on Instagram before the incident was taken in a nail salon. She captioned the same photo on Twitter: "Let's talk about boys," and tagged two of her friends. Based on this post, no one would have expected that she would take her own life a few hours later.
So what went wrong?
Most people believe that people who talk about suicide are just trying to get attention, but according to Kevin Caruso of www.suicide.com, "People who die by suicide usually talk about it first." It's also pretty alarming to know that over 70% of people who threaten to kill themselves actually proceed with the attempt, according to Makati Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry.
So, how can you tell if someone's about to commit suicide? Here are some signs:
1. Extreme depression, dramatic mood swings
2. Insomnia, hyperinsomnia
3. Withdrawing from friends, family, and most activities
4. Talking about suicide
5. Making a will
6. Suddenly visiting or calling friends and family "for the last time"
7. Gathering instruments that will help him or her complete the suicide such as a gun, rope, and pills
8. Writing a suicide note
If you know someone who exhibits at LEAST ONE of those signs, you should immediately ask help from his family. You shouldn't keep it a secret—even if he tells you to, because the truth is, a suicidal person cannot simply just snap out of it. Seek help from a psychiatrist, who can determine the types of therapy and medications your friend may need.
You can also ask help from the following organizations:
Natasha Goulbourn Foundation
Anton Osmena Tribute and SOS Philippines (Survivors of Suicide) Resource Site
Facebook group: Survivor of Suicide - Philippines
Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM)
894-5932 or 34