Ropes to be banned from Kyambogo University resident halls to curb suicide

Kyambogo University Vice-Chancellor set to ban the use of ropes in student halls of residence in an effort to prevent the rise of suicide cases at the institution.

Vice-Chancellor, Kyambogo University Prof Eli Katunguka

According to the Vice Chancellor, Elly Katunguka, the cases of mental illness and suicide cases have steadily gone up at the university over the past 3 years.

The institution has so far reported 3 cases of suicide. Earlier this year, Brian Wetaka took his life at the University, explaining in a suicide note that he couldn't handle the stress from unemployment after graduating in 2019.

We have always known that their issues with students with mental issues but we have always left those to the dean of students and the department of Guidance and counselling. Following reports of suicide cases at the institution, we need a policy to guide students on how to prevent them from having access to materials that help them take their life. Like having ropes in halls of residence and not allowing students to have big stalks of medicine,” Prof. Katunguka said.

He called upon the government and public at large to work together to protect students from substances that compromise their well-being, leaving them vulnerable to overwhelming feelings of sadness and suicide ideation.

As a country we need to put in place mechanism to stop students from accessing drugs over the counter to control suicide. They should be regulations to control what drugs what can be sold to young people 18-20 years, as a University we have launched an anti-suicide campaign to extend counseling services to students in hostels, halls of residents, and classrooms,” he continued.

The professor is also establishing partnerships with hostel owners, who host over 29000 students in their residentials, to monitor students behaviour and to put a lid on permissive conduct.

Students take a lot of alcohol in their hostels, girls get involved in all kinds of relationships with older men and we do not have control over these things. To save our children’s lives, we are going to talk to the owners so that students do not come back to hostels late and avoid hosting men which later lead to depression when the men leave them,” Prof. Katunguka said.

The acting senior University counsellor, Winfred Kyosaba Biribonwa, appealed to parents to get close to their children to help them open up about the challenges they go through.

Be a keen observer of your children and listen to issues they present. Also students should come and talk to us we are here to help them. The University should also increase our budget, we are only three counsellors against students who are over 33000. We need to raise more awareness and intervention,” Biribonwa said.

During a student body address, the first President of Uganda Counselling association, Ruth Ssenyonyi, offered words of encouragement and asked each individual to take responsibility for their mental wellness.

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