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Suicide attempts by students on the rise

By Nelson Kiva, Juliet Kasirye

Added 19th February 2020 09:11 PM

Winfred Kyosaba, the university acting senior counselor, says that since January this year, her office has registered more than three cases of attempts to commit suicide by students frustrated by relationships.

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Kyambogo University students donating blood during the counselling open day at Kyambogo University on Wednesday. (Photo by Juliet Kasirye.)

Winfred Kyosaba, the university acting senior counselor, says that since January this year, her office has registered more than three cases of attempts to commit suicide by students frustrated by relationships.

MENTAL HEALTH         SUICIDE 

The increasing number of students attempting suicide over broken relationships has got authorities at Kyambogo University worried.

Winfred Kyosaba, the university acting senior counselor, says that since January this year, her office has registered more than three cases of attempts to commit suicide by students frustrated by relationships.

“Relationships ‘disappointments leave the students depressed to the extent of attempting to commit suicide. But we attend to them and they normalise,” she said.

She added; “Other causes may not be experiencing broken relations as such, but also unwanted pregnancies which result in stressful abortions.”

To address the challenge, the university is undertaking a number of interventions which include counseling sessions done by professional psychologists from within the university and outside.

The university today marked the counseling and psychology day. The celebrations were punctuated with a walk, counseling talks, blood donation, among others.

The University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eli Katunguka, agreed with Kyosaba that cases of attempted suicide by students were common at the university.

“If somebody can come and confide in you that they have a problem, they feel like they are taking their lives. If you can talk to them then you can save a life,” Katunguka advised.

He added; “By the time, somebody tries to kill himself or herself, I believe that kind of state is not normal.

Sometimes you find the student saying they want to kill themselves because they had a relationship, which went sour and they think they cannot live without the other person.

If you counsel them, they will realise that they can live with any other person.”

He also admits that alcohol and drug addiction on top of financial difficulties are the other “big problems in our community.”

Katuguka said internet addiction was another emerging disease for many Ugandans.

He said; “Mental issues are also widespread in our communities, though not everybody with a mental problem would accept that they have a mental problem.”

Cases of students committing suicide have also been reported at Makerere University, Makerere Business School among others.

Clemence Byomuhangi, a counseling psychologist, says psychological counseling is very important in “our society more especially with the challenges we go through.”

“We are in transition, we are coming from traditional ways to modern ways and our minds are not psychologically ready,” she said.

She added that counseling was the only tool to adjust to the traumas which take people unaware. 

She said relationships are among the issues currently challenging students.

“We have had a lot of students committing suicide in many universities because they are confused and they do not know how to relate,” Byomuhangi said.

Byomuhangi added; “There are many therapies you can give to these students, among them, cognitive behavior that helps students to realise that if relationships fail, it is not the end of the World. They can move on and get others who will love them.”

Tony Agea, a student from the faculty of social sciences and a student mentor, helps students with disabilities to build confidence and as well as change the students’ behaviour from bad to good.

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