My eyes was filled with tears when I read in one of Nigerian national dailies the sad story of a 20-year-old student of 200 level Biochemistry undergraduate student of Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Ogbona Shedrach, who committed suicide after his father rejected his fifty thousand naira request.
It was gathered that the deceased’s parents are divorced and he faced many challenges because of their marital status. It is reported that the deceased had requested a sum of fifty thousand naira from his father to enable him settle his pressing needs. His father was said to declined his request which got the deceased angry and he ended his life.
That incident, as sad as it is, is the latest among several cases of suicide recorded in Nigeria especially among Nigerian universities in recent times.
Recent media reports from several Neuro-Psychiatric hospitals across the country reveal that the incidence of mental illness including depressive disorders is on the rise.
Students must be encouraged to become more open as they grapple with emotional pressure and frustrations in their studies instead of languishing in despair. Many suicide notes are filled with confessions that the victims had no one to talk to. Loneliness and the absence of support are the bedrock of suicide incidents.
Young mind is being considered, as the most productive members of the society, due to their physical and
intellectual capability. But in real scenario, most of them are unable to utilize their potential in an appropriate way
due to lack of guidance and motivation. Social problems like alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual abuse, smoking,
juvenile delinquency, anti-social acts, an in this case, suicide have an adverse effect on them and others too, to a large extent.
This new challenge requires immediate and an effective response from a socially responsible system of education.
Education, now a days is hence, very important, but the kind of education, to support and live life better is more
important. Thus, the cardinal focus of Education, therefore, needs an extraordinary emphasis on developing life skills such as self-awareness, critical thinking, creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, effective communication, interpersonal relationship, empathy, coping with stress, coping with emotion, as they are the important building blocks for a dynamic citizen, who can cope up with future challenges, and survive.
Hence, I recommend that trauma centres manned by seasoned psychologists and psychiatrists be set up for counselling purposes in all Nigerian universities.
More so, students must be advised that when they are under pressure with their studies or are struggling with life’s challenges, they need to always fall back on internal philosophy that emphasizes on hope above despair and purpose above emptiness.