Due to a suicide committed by a student in the local state university attributed to the supposed suspension of her education due to her inability to pay the tuition on time, many people have raised a ruckus here with the effect of the state university responding symptomatically by removing the late penalty suspension or consequences to the further detriment of the educational system.

This event calls to question not merely the obvious issue of the mental health of the suicide victim but everyone who has responded or been affected by it. Suicide is not commendable but compounding it by an inappropriate response of allowing payments to be late henceforth is not helping the situation since the issue is and should be mental health and not the school policy which has been put in so that the school may have enough funds to continue operating as well as instilling the value of discipline and paying what is due.

The whole hoopla is multi-factorial, just as suicide is. Situations of this nature are complex and we rob them of justice when we view it simplistically. There are more grievous things one has to face in the world than being unable to attend class due to late payment, and if this single reason would be sufficient cause for a person to nullify their own existence then we cheapen the sacrifice, patience, and strength of character of the many students who have struggled through university with minimal resources and prevailed amidst poverty and pain, as well as the many students who are bravely facing the same issues presently, and the many who will come after.

Removing the consequences of delayed payment due to social pressure and mayhem teaches the inappropriate lesson that manipulation can get oneself out of the consequences of one’s actions and would result in further irresponsible behavior and a sense of entitlement among some of the more narcissistic types of the underprivileged.

The very emotional reactions to the suicide resulting in protests and suspension of classes in honor for the suicide victim sends the wrong message that someone who commits suicide is some sort of a hero who should be honored and to the more vulnerable among the populace, seeing such a response might spur additional suicides due to the wrong message all this ruckus creates that taking one’s own life begets attention which one may feel is due to oneself.

This is not to say that suicide is not tragic but it should be placed in the proper perspective and action is required to address the mental health of the living and not the one who has passed on already. Lauding their behavior or “sacrifice” is counterproductive to the mental health of the living and ineffective for the one who has left physical existence already.

If there is one thing that this event should leave us with, it is that mental health should not be neglected and there should be a way to teach, guide, and improve mental health among the general population as well as the possibility of incorporating mental health education alongside physical education in our schools.

Tuition fees and suspensions are incidental in this case compared to the more important facet of mental health which causes more suicides and anguish than being unable to go to school and this is the family dynamic of each person. Being able to school would not be a life and death matter of one did not desperately want to escape one’s immediate environment and situation which is usually the family set-up. Poverty in itself should not be the sole culprit for unbearable family dynamics because money isn’t the sole determinator of happiness and we have seen very loving and healthy families exist despite being underprivileged.

All the extreme behavior and riots resulting from the suicide of one individual is indicative of a deeper problem which is that all the anger and frustration needed to be channeled and this situation was the perfect scapegoat.

Money, spirituality, family, and education are not the only cornerstones of a successful society, without mentally healthy individuals there would be a smaller chance of being able to improve the current predicament. All institutions should seriously consider providing mental health services to be able to give each member of society the ability to cope with changes and unexpected occurrences, and perhaps maybe even the ability to improve other people’s lots in life. Think about it.

(c) Niconica 2013

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