As mentioned in part one, the rate of anxiety and depression among students is escalating every day – also, suicide rate is rising. The Nigerian university student unions can do something about it without waiting for the actual university or the government to do something about these problems.
The student unions can create a community or service for students with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges to call or visit and discuss about their health challenges in relation to their studies or just in general.
Some people all they need is someone that can listen to them, others just need a friend they can share their problems with, without the fear of their secrets being exposed to the rest of the world. Student services and students’ unions are in the best position and can provide these services to students. The creation of student support services wouldn’t be that expensive (beside the students pays thousands of naira) for the university and these may aid students’ performance both academically and personally.
Few months ago, I came across a post on Facebook about a university student that committed suicide due to university and home challenges this individual was facing. If there was a support in place for that individual and others, they may be able to live longer, happier and better lives. We need to start helping ourselves and one another, let’s not wait for someone who doesn’t care about us or our health to help us, even though it’s in their job descriptions – by someone I mean the government and the people running the Nigerian universities. These also goes to the runners of high schools, they can also create a guidance and counselling services to students, the teachers can also start to observe students and look out for any signs of mental struggles and try to help that child before things become apparent. For example, there was a student that committed suicide because this individual failed the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination. This could have been prevented if appropriate channels for support was provided.
Most of the suicide committed by children are due to the immense pressure parents put on their children both academically and personally. Some parents put pressure on their child into studying – this is a good thing but too much studying and pressuring our children to study through the day and all year round is not helping but affecting the kid’s mental state especially if punishment is involved. Some Nigerian parents force their children into competing with other students academically – something parents should be aware of is, every child has his/her own skills, talent and ability. As our fingers aren’t equal so are our children, forcing them to do something they’re not interested in or don’t have the skill for isn’t doing anyone any good but the opposite. There is a difference between healthy and unhealthy competition, forcing your kids into doing anything that they’re not good at or interested in is unhealthy and as time goes the effect of that will start to manifest.
As parents we should try to listen to what our children are interested in and what they’re not – yes! Some kids will have weird and stupid interest, instead of dismissing their weird and stupid interests or goals, try and explain to them why their goals aren’t possible or will be hard to achieve. When it comes to school performance, we shouldn’t expect them to be the best in the class – if they’re the best in class then we should be happy and if they aren’t we should be thankful about their performance and encourage them to do better but not force or pressure them to do better. Pressure doesn’t do anyone any good and if it does, it won’t last. Abusing them whether physically, verbally or mentally won’t help improve the performance of our kids.
Also, as parents, making our children to fear us isn’t a good thing and isn’t something to be proud of. Yes! Our kids should respect us but beating and threatening them won’t work and if it does, it’s just for a short period of time before they defy us. We can earn our children’s respect by being opened and friendly to them, befriending our kids isn’t a bad idea, our children will be able to share their problems, achievements and challenges without being afraid of the consequences, we can be the first people they come to when they need something like help or when they want to celebrate their achievements – we shouldn’t be the last resort to our children.
If we raise our kids right the thought of harming themselves and others won’t cross their mind because they have a cool parent and friend, they can turn to us if things start to get tough – not just our small children but even our adult children. Another thing, raising our children to be good and forthcoming will help their social lives, future children (our grandchildren), and treat others with respect – all these bullying, relationship abuse among others won’t exist or at least be minimal.
Thanks for your time and try to open-up to your kids or parents – morning greetings and good nights can go a long way to making your kids or parents happy.
What is your thought around this?