Comedian Joey de Leon apologizes for depression remark

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Veteran comedian Joey de Leon (left) with "Eat Bulaga" co-star Maine Mendoza (file)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 6) — The usual laughter on popular noontime show "Eat Bulaga" briefly turned into silence on Friday as veteran comedian Joey de Leon made a heartfelt apology.

"Nagkamali po ako," De Leon said. "Hindi ko alam na ganun kalawak at kalalim pala 'yun. Akala ko stress 'yun. So uli, humihingi po ako ng kapatawaran sa mga nasaktan, nagalit."

[Translation: I made a mistake. I didn't know that the issue was that big and went that deep. I thought it was just stress. So again, I would like to ask for forgiveness for those who got hurt and those who got mad.]

Social media went into an uproar on Thursday after De Leon poked fun at a contestant on the show's "Juan for all, all for Juan" segment for saying she lives with depression.

Read: Netizens call out Joey de Leon for remark on depression, Maine Mendoza praised

"Hindi, 'wag niyong suportahan, gawa-gawa lang niya 'yun, pabayaan niyo… nagpapasosyal lang," De Leon said on the show on Thursday. "'Pag mayaman, depression. 'Pag mahirap, wala, wala ka nang pag-asa sa buhay."

[Translation: No, don't support it, it's just made up, let it be... it's just drawing attention. If you're rich, depression. If you're poor, you have no hope in life.]

De Leon said on Friday his wife Aileen and his children scolded him after the show.

""Eh Daddy, hindi stress 'yan ang depression,"" he said, quoting his kids. "Lalo akong nahiya sa sarili ko nang banggitin ni Aileen na may mga malalapit kaming mahal sa buhay na nagdurusa sa ganung kalagayan."

[Translation: "Daddy, depression isn't stress" (my kids told me). I became more ashamed of myself when Aileen said we have loved ones who are suffering from depression.]

De Leon also said he called his co-star Maine Mendoza on Thursday night to apologize.

Mendoza, who forms one-half of the TV love team "AlDub," called De Leon out for what he said on Thursday's episode.

Related: Personalities weigh in on mental health after controversial Joey de Leon comments

"Nag-sorry ako kay Maine agad dahil siya 'yung nagbanggit nun sa usapan naming tatlo, so medyo nakaluwag 'yung paghinga ko," he said.

[Translation: I said sorry to Maine because she was the one who talked about depression among us three. I was relieved afterwards.]

De Leon said he hopes his mistake makes people talk more about depression.

"Kung may maidudulot na mabuti yung aking pagkakamali, sana'y mabuksan ito ang maraming pinto sa pagtalakay sa isyu na ito," he said. "May kasabihan naman tayo na, "Mapait man ang ugat ng karunungan o edukasyon, karaniwang matamis naman ang binubunga nito.""

[Translation: If there's anything good that will come out of my mistake, I hope it opens many doors to discuss this issue. We have a saying that "The root of education may be bitter, but its fruit is often sweet."]

Netizens praised De Leon for his apology, saying it could have helped save lives.

May Joey de Leon's mistake pave the way for mental health awareness even more. Let's educate each other and really do what we advocate.

— Samantha Mariano (@samariiano) October 6, 2017

Not 'gawa-gawa'

The Department of Health (DOH) website said depression is "characterized by either depressed mood or markedly diminished interest or pleasure in most activities of the day."

The DOH added symptoms of depression include significant weight loss or weight gain; difficulty in sleeping or oversleeping; fatigue or loss of energy; excessive guilt or feeling of worthlessness; and recurrent suicidal thoughts among others.

The treatment of depressive disorders includes both antidepressant medications and psychological interventions like cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy and family therapy, it added.

Related: 6 ways to support someone with mental illness

The World Health Organization said as of April 2017, more than 300 million people live with depression, with 86 million from the Southeast Asia Region, including the Philippines.