Depression is a serious illness. But many — like longtime TV host and comedian Joey de Leon — continue to belittle or entirely dismiss the fact that mental health is a very real and serious condition everywhere, including the Philippines.
In a segment called Juan for All, All for Juan on popular noontime show Eat Bulaga, a contestant shared that her mother suffered from depression that caused her to suffer memory loss. But a diagnosis from a mental health professional and doctor wasn’t enough to convince de Leon that her depression was a real illness and not something she imagined.
Here is the verbatim exchange between hosts de Leon and Jose Manalo with the contestant in Tagalog with English translations.
Jose: Anong sakit ni nanay? (What is the condition of your mom?)
Maria Cristina (sugod bahay winner): Depression po (Depression).
Jose: Bakit? Iyang bang depression nakukuha ba iyan dahil depressed ka, ganun ba iyon? (Why? Do you get the condition because you’re just depressed?)
Maria Cristina: Ang sabi lang po nung doktor, depression tapos yung katandaan cause makakalimutin na po. (The doctor simply said she has depression and because of her age, she already tends to forget things.)
Joey: Yung depression, gawa-gawa lang ng mga tao iyan. Gawa nila sa sarili nila. (About depression, that’s just made by people. They make themselves [depressed].)
But young actress and co-host Maine Mendoza aka Yaya Dub didn’t back down from speaking out against the de Leon, even though her rise to stardom was, in part, thanks to the host.
“Depression is not a laughing matter. It’s not a joke. Because many people go through it, especially today’s youth. That if you’re going through it, give them the support,” she said in Filipino. Her on-screen partner and co-host Alden Richards also said in agreement “yes, moral support.”
But Joey, again, insisted that depression was not real: “Hindi, huwag n’yo suportahan. Gawa-gawa lang nila iyon.” (No, don’t support it. It’s just something you make up.)
Another co-host, Allan K, jumped in the conversation: “Pero ano nga ba ang explanation ng depression? Andami kasing tao talaga nagsusuffer ng depression eh. (What is depression? So many people are suffering from depression.)
But Joey was still not convinced: “Wala nagpapasosyal lang iyan. Pag mayaman, depression. Pag mahirap, wala, wala nang pagasa.”
(No, they’re just being fancy. When you’re rich, depression. When you’re poor, nothing, you’re hopeless.)
Filipinos on the Twitterverse praised Maine Mendoza for not letting de Leon’s comments slide.
I am not a fan of Maine Mendoza but I like the girl. She has a good head on top of her shoulders.
— Chrome DCB (@eversorterminus) October 5, 2017
I’m a big fan of Maine Mendoza, a bigger fan about her stand on depression
— Pearl (@IamPearlTopaz) October 5, 2017
Kudos to Maine Mendoza for taking a stand against Joey De Leon when he said that depression is “gawa-gawa lang” on national television.
— Keith (@keitpao) October 5, 2017
At least Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards are not like the old hag host – Joey de Leon, who thinks depression is “gawa-gawa lang”
— Queen (@KweenJ19) October 5, 2017
Alden Richards also recently appeared in a GMA special playing an activist tortured during martial law.
One netizen posed this question:
What if Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza are the outspokenly woke young icons we’ve all been waiting for?
— DAANG HARI STYLES (@keiakamatsu) October 5, 2017
Not surprisingly, many were outraged at de Leon’s comments.
Dear people who r suffering from depression & other mental illnesses,
dont listen to Joey De Leon. Your condition is not “gawa-gawa lang”..
— A N N Vi C (@_dontcallmemary) October 5, 2017
Depression’s a real bitch. Insensitive dicks like Joey De Leon worsen it. As if it’s not already hard enough to hide it with a smiling face.
— grimACE (@aceofblades_) October 5, 2017
Just saw Joey De Leon trivialize depression in live TV saying “gawa-gawa lang yan” and “pag sosyal depressed”. Happy that Maine disagreed.
— Edward del Rosario (@SirEdwardRyan) October 5, 2017
Go f*ck yourself joey de leon. He literally trivialized depression on national tv saying it’s “gawa-gawa” lang?? I’m so fucking angry.
— audrey (@avdsey) October 5, 2017
See the video of the exchange below (skip to 33:33)
If you or anyone you know suffers from depression or needs to speak to a mental health professional the Department of Health (DOH) with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Natasha Golbourn Foundation has a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline. The Hopeline may be reached at (02) 804-4637; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.