Monday, March 18, 2013

The Fatal Choice

I was watching the news on TV a while ago. One is big sad news this week. It’s about the tragic suicide of a 16-year-old freshman college student of the University of the Philippines, Manila. According to the report, the teenage student, who came from a poor family, was severely depressed for not being able to pay her tuition of less than P10,000 and re-enroll for the coming semester.

In Elton John’s record album, “Honky Chateau,” one song is entitled “I Think I’m Gonna Kill My Self.” The song’s lyrics recite many of the problems teenagers face. Family problems, parental deprivations, and some of the confusion of adolescence are poetically recited to music.

In the case of that teenage U.P. student, blame appears to be primarily focused on the government university’s inadequacy in its socialized tuition scheme. While there may be valid grounds to look on it, there is also a need to look at the aspects of the person who commits the suicide (she reportedly had other issues) and the availability of appropriate mental health support/preventive services.

Psychological and emotional first aid is important in preventing suicide. Observe, look, listen, smell, and touch if necessary. Express love and concern for the person. Stay with the person. Do not allow her to be alone. Remove anything with which she could injure herself. After emergency time has passed and medical check up is completed, seek professional psychotherapy and counseling for the person. Do something before it’s too late!

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