Mental health at educational institutions must be looked into, Experts

A CALL has been made for more focus to be directed towards mental health issues especially at educational institutions as a number of students have resorted to suicide owing to various challenges they go through.
Cases of suicide appear to be on the increase with indications that mental health is a contributing factor.
In an interview on the sidelines of a Mental Health seminar organised by the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo this Thursday, a psychiatrist, Dr Nemache Mawere highlighted some of the leading causes.
“You will find that most of the problems actually happen before they even come to school. Before they join us they have their own problems already and when they join us they develop other problems too because there are lots of problems they are going through. Issues of accommodation, the stresses, financial issues, pressure of trying to perform to the level they are expected to,” said Dr Mawere.
Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Chief Executive Officer, Professor Kuzvinetsa Dzvimbo, however revealed that a lot is being done in the Higher education sector to address mental health conditions.
“A lot is being done. In all our institutions we have deans of students. We have a lot of support services for students. So there is a lot that is actually being done by universities individually and by the entire higher education sector to ensure this problem does not get out of hand,” noted Professor Dzvimbo.
The seminar running under the theme, ‘Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Awareness’ was attended by mental health practitioners, psychiatrists and representatives from other universities.
NUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Mqhele Dlodlo called for urgent interventions to curb loss of life due to mental health conditions.
“At some point, road accidents were getting out of control and now we can see that suicide is rising. Cases of suicide are rising and we want to arrest that before it becomes a greater crisis than it is already becoming. So that’s how important this is,” highlighted Professor Dhlodhlo.
With a lot of focus being put on other medical conditions, mental health was not being given much prominence until government rolled out a mental health policy in 1999.