A recent report that has been circulating is upsetting and alarming and a big warning to all parents and guardians. Suicide is increasing especially among young teens and youth.
A recent tragic incident occurred at Olasore international School, Iloko-Ijesha, Osun State when a child committed suicide by hanging!
The school management rose from this traumatic experience by organizing a very well attended seminar yesterday on Mental Wellness of young adults ( Teenagers). I attended and felt parents and guardians could learn a few lessons from the discussions. Below is a post I initially sent to another group chat. God bless.
“This contribution was sent in by Gbayode Somuyiwa , a top Media/PR personality , Lawyer, and former Executive Director in charge of Human Resources and Corporate Communications at THISDAY.
‘Good morning all. Thank you Ayo for the good works on this platform. I know you’re trying to protect the name of the school and our dear friends who are the proprietors because of the likely embarrassment that may arise from the tragic event. Thankfully, the consensus of participants at a well attended seminar held yesterday at the Lagos Business School was that the public should know and create awareness about Mental Wellness of our children particularly the teenagers to save parents and school authorities the agony of this type of sad incident.
One of the revelations that came out of the conversation yesterday was that parents and school management should come out of DENIAL when signs of emotional issues that could affect the mental wellness of our children are noticed.
A live case was discussed when a participant sought help about a year 7 student who wrote a suicide note because she felt unloved by her parents, yet the parents were not aware that their child is so depressed that she wants to kill herself.
Another shocking revelation is that teenagers who want to end their lives DO NOT write suicide notes in diaries anymore! They now post it on their Facebook or Instagram walls or Twitter. The Director of Mental Awareness Nigeria Initiative (MANI), an NGO run by young Nigerians disclosed that 5,000 suicides were prevented this year alone because MANI monitored the posts on social media and intervened.
AWARENESS about mental health and the STEREOTYPES associated with mentally challenged individuals should be addressed.
Disturbing statistics were given about teenage suicides in Nigeria. But because of stereotypes “ what will people say”; “aye o gbodo gbo”; “our reputation will be destroyed “. Many parents who should have sought help, keep quiet and do not attend to the early signs.
The economic situation and rat race to keep up is not helping matters. Style of parenting too should be regularly reviewed.
The child who committed suicide was not from a poor home. What that child lacked could have been PARENTAL LOVE. It could also have been inability to cope with PEER PRESSURE. Another problem teenagers face is BULLYING in school and LOW SELF ESTEEM.
It was the resolution of all those present at the meeting that schools should have POLICIES on what can enhance the mental wellness of their students. PARTNERSHIP between parents and the school was emphasized.
Now back to your question as to what should be the response of a school owner faced with similar unfortunate situation.