Students urged to seek support group to divert suicidal tendencies

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MANILA, March 18, 2013—Students who are undergoing depression over their academic problems, among other reasons, are encouraged to turn to their family, friends and professional guidance counselors for moral support, instead of committing suicide to end their miseries.

Fr. Gregorio Bañaga, C.M. of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) made this advice to students after a University of the Philippines (UP) scholar took her own life after being forced to leave school for failure to pay her matriculation fees.

Bañaga, who is concurrent CEAP and Adamson University president, advised students who are in a similar situation as Kristel Tejada to get a support group to help them handle and solve their problems.

“Get a network around you to help you. Sometimes students do not go for counseling or don’t have friends. They forget that one of the gifts of friendship is to be able to share your problem and to eventually dissipate it,” he said.

The priest said Tejada, who was reportedly demoralized after being denied to enroll at UP Manila for failing to pay her dues, could not have “found comfort or consolation” before she finally ended her life.

But Bañaga said it is not proper to conclude that Tejada’s force leave of absence from school is the only reason for her committing suicide. He said an investigation on the real cause of the suicide is in order and accusing the school of negligence is “unfair.”

The school administrator, however, said that Tejada’s depression could be true to other students, poverty-stricken or not, “considering that the youth nowadays are ‘impatient.’”

“Young people today are impatient, not used to sacrifice or delays, and want instant gratification. When they don’t get what they want, they easily get frustrated,” he said.

The youth’s impatience, Bañaga added, is ingrained in the Filipino culture “where everything is instant.”

This is why he personally urged academicians to find a way to instill the virtue of patience in their students.

“It would also be good if there are mechanisms at school to spot the students who are undergoing depression so that these students can be guided and accompanied properly,” he said.

“Spotting unusual signs from depressed students should also be a role of their friends and classmates as part of a healthy school environment,” he added.

Tejada, a 16-year-old freshman, took her life last Friday by poisoning herself with silver cleaner.

UP officials said there is a continuing effort to improve the financial assistance program of the State university “to make it more accessible to the poor.” (YouthPinoy)

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