(Kenya) Rising suicide incidences; need to address mental health of students

Sept 23, 2017, Nairobi, Kenya, Daily Nation: Rising cases of suicide in schools worrying As the world marked ‘The World Suicide Prevention Day’ last week, a 15-year old, Standard Eight candidate, Clinton Okech Ojunga, of Olodo Primary School in Homa Bay County, took his own life after scoring 372 marks in a class test, falling behind his rival who scored 373 marks. In his suicide message left on the class black board, the student said he had found it impossible to stomach the defeat. ... Cases of suicide among students are not new in the Kenyan education sector. Several predisposing factors have been identified for the rising suicide incidences, including depression, mental illness, drugs and alcohol abuse, strained relationships, inadequate parenting, poverty, abuse, trauma, domestic violence, broken homes and chronic diseases…. After four students committed suicide at University of Guelph in Ontario early this year, the university came under fire from students. A petition demanded the school do more to support the mental health of students and in response, top officials from the university took the unusual step of going door-to-door at campus residences three nights in the week to check on the mental health of students and hand out information on the various supports available. “Any time there’s a tragic event, you sit back and you want to figure out how to provide more support and resources and whatever else can we do,” said Patrick Kelly, an associate director of Residence Life, who helped organise the initiative.