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Most Kenyan university students are mentally depressed: Expert reveals

 By
Faith Mudoga

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Most of the
time we look at the problems that the youth encounter and we blame it on them.
Society has cultivated a permanent notion and viewpoint that the youth are
carefree, party freaks and drug users. 

 

But being
honest with ourselves, this is not the case. As much as there are some rotten
tomatoes, the sack still contains plenty of the good healthy ones.

 

Mental health is very important and it’s time to stop
perceiving it as a white man’s problem and consider it. Our youth in
universities are suffering. We are losing our leaders of tomorrow and a
generation that matters because of our negligence and assumptions.

 

                                [Image by www.downtoearth.org.in]

 

 

 

For instance, if we take the University of Nairobi as a
case study when you visit the institute and inquire about how the majority of
the students fend for and survive.

 

 You will be surprised. The point of emphasis here
is that paying for a student fee and hostel is not enough. Parents, guardians
and lecturers forget this fact all the time. They expect as long as the student
has been provided with a roof over his/her head and tuition has been sorted
that should be enough to make them thrive and secure that good GPA.

 

Tony Mutunga a student at Day University reveals how
mental depression almost made him end his life.

 

 “I was a second year student at the University
when I sank into alcoholism and depression took the better part of me. I ended
up quitting School and got into drugs. I involved myself in terrible and toxic
relationships that have ruined my view of the world and some things today. I
contemplated on killing myself on several occasions because I felt like I had
lost it all.” 

 

Miss Emmah Muchoki Psychologist at Amani Counselling
Centre, states that.

 

 “I work on helping a number of university students
to find their way back from depression, anxiety and other mental issues. It is
funny because the very things that we assume are the very things that are
taking our youth down to the grave.”

 

She further opines that university students struggle a
lot with peer pressure. It is not because they want to, but the position and environment
that they’re in push them to such an extent. 

A random interview with campus students from various
universities paints grief pictures of what these students are going through.

 

On the table, they all seem grateful for being offered
the opportunity to pursue their careers but what about being starved? What
about not having enough or lacking the money to buy basic clothes and shoes? 

 

For ladies how should they deal with no way of getting
their hair done or even purchasing essential products? How do you live with no
means of affording the simplest of leisure activities? 

 

It’s time to stop blaming and pointing fingers at
university comrades for doing what they do. Instead, we should take the
initiative to ask why they do what they do. Let us be part of the solution
because if we are not aiming at solving such dilemmas then we are part of the
problem.

“Since I joined my first year at Technical University of
Kenya, my parents have never provided me with money to buy clothes/shoes, basic
feminine essentials like perfume and under garments or even salon money. I have
survived most of my campus life by doing alcohol promotion jobs in the clubs.
Later on when I got to my third year I realized that the little amount of money
that I was making from those promotion jobs could not sustain me any longer. My
dad could send me 1500 shillings and expect that to last me for two weeks or
more.
Confessed Joan Akinyi.

 

Joan just like what the rest of  her friends ,she began dating rich men
in order to finance my lifestyle. 

 

“I regret doing some of this things because in
the end my grades detoriated and I lost myself. Honestly I had no other option.
Everything I did was in order to survive.”

 

Joan was pursuing an engineering course when life at the
campus become unbearable. 

 

One way that we can help our university students is by
creating job opportunities.

 

Neglecting them and assuming that as long as they are in
school and all is well, is being ignored as a country. As much as their
education is important and it comes first, also their well-being equally
matters.

“Some of us dropped out of school to pursue our passion
because if we had remained there we would have died of hunger, frustrations,
confusions and depression a long time ago,” said Mulamwah the comedian.

 

The comedian and content creator have made a brand for
himself that has earned him numerous endorsement that helps him cater for
himself.

 

Miss Emmah also said that they have been working on
certain programs to help the youth in universities when it comes to mental
health but it’s funny that some universities are not even willing to cooperate. 

 

“I would like to urge our university students who have
issues overwhelming them to speak up. Committing suicide or engaging in
activities that will ruin your life is not a solution. We are here for you and
don’t wait for anyone to save you because you can save yourself. We have free
counselling sessions online or you can visit Amani Counselling Centre for
direct help.” Urged Miss Emmah. 

 

 

 

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