Filipino psychologist tackles bullying to prevent suicides

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 08 2010 03:02 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2010 11:02 PM

MANHATTAN, New York – A Filipino psychologist said parents need to be more engaged with their children to prevent suicides caused by bullying.

In the past few weeks, suicides resulting from bullying online and offline hogged headlines such as the case of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi who took his own life after his roommate allegedly uploaded a web video showing him having same-sex intercourse in his bedroom.

“It’s a very real problem and really touches close to home, I mean as a youth, I remember feeling very isolated, different, abnormal, feeling like I was all alone. While I didn’t go that route, I could see why someone would like to end their life,” said psychologist and author Dr. Kevin Nadal.

Nadal said suicide ideation is not uncommon and tends to be higher among Filipino American teenage girls compared to their Asian American counterparts.

Nadal also said that the youth today, especially those who are bullied in school and on the internet feel, that life is not worth living.

“Perhaps if these youths were able to talk about their problems, seek the help and get the guidance and validation that they need, perhaps they wouldn’t become depressed, even more so, perhaps, wouldn’t lead to suicide,” said Nadal.

Nadal warned parents though that talking about just school and work is not enough.

“Maybe parents need to ask their children: How is your day today? How are you feeling? Have you been feeling depressed lately? Or certain issues we try to avoid talking about but are very important,” he said.

Nadal was recently honored by the Kalusugan Coalition for pushing the envelope when it comes to mental health in the Filipino-American community.

”He is doing really cutting edge research that is showing what mental health issues are, especially in the Filipino-American adolescent community. But he is also documenting the experiences through the book that he is doing,” said Kalusugan Coalition’s Board Chair, Noilyn Mendoza.

Nadal’s newly released second book on the Filipino-American Psychology is a collection of real-life personal stories and experiences of Filipino Americans.

He is hoping that when young readers know and hear that other people have similar experiences with their own, it can make a big difference in their life and somehow help save someone’s else’s life. Balitang America