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Significant number of uni students suicidal

Mar 18. 2019
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By THE NATION

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MORE THAN 6 per cent of university students have attempted suicide, recent research has discovered.

The study findings have been highlighted after several students killed themselves in recent weeks. 

“From research on university students’ depression during the past three to four years, it can be concluded that 6.4 per cent of students turned suicidal and tried to take their own life,” said Asst Professor Dr Piyawan Visessuvanapoom, who teaches at the Chulalongkorn University’s (CU) Faculty of Education. 

The studies were in both Thailand and overseas, she added.

Most student suicide attempts were in dormitories and homes, the research found.

The common triggers for the actions were quarrels with someone very close, learning problems and relationship issues. 

“Health problems, anxiety, stress and poor ties with parents and friends contribute to depression,” Piyawan said. 

Given that half of university students’ lives were about studies, lecturers could play a role in preventing a descent into depression, she said, adding: “Lecturers should understand that students are diverse. When a group of students cannot do something, try to understand them and see how you can |help.” 

Asst Professor Dr Nattasuda Taephant, who heads the Centre for Psychological Wellness, explained that everyone becomes sad from time to time. “But if sadness is prolonged, a person may sink into depression,” she said. Nattasuda said academic results that were below expectations, plus money problems, soured romantic ties or friendships, or the sudden loss of something important could upset students’ lives and drive them into depression. 

“The depressed tend to view the world and their situation negatively. Their past experiences affect their interpretation of what they are facing,” she said. 

She said those with depression tended to keep themselves away from others, lose interest in |their studies and become |suicidal. 

“What the depressed want most is someone who agrees to listen and think for them. Lecturers, friends and family members can improve their emotional wellbeing,” she said. 

She said parents in particular should avoid any suggestion that they do not accept their children’s mistakes.

Asst Professor Dr Nuttorn Pityaratsatian, an expert in child and adolescent psychiatry at the CU Faculty of Medicine, recommended that those feeling depressed be invited to go out and participate in various kinds of activities, as well as being offered moral support. “People can recover from depression, like from a cold, but it also can come back from time to time. When ones feel sad, one should find an activity to do or a listening ear,” he said. 

In serious cases, he recommended that the depressed seek counselling from experts. 

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