The University of Witwatersrand has responded to the outcry over recent student suicides‚ vowing to increase the institution’s counselling services capacity.
The decision comes in the wake of the third student suicide this year at the university.
Mpumelelo Tshabalala committed suicide on Wednesday night by jumping off a building in Johannesburg CBD. His death was confirmed by his family and the university.
“All signs point to him taking his own life. Wits officials have been on the ground since last night and are in touch with his family and friends. Our deepest condolences go out to all whose lives he touched and those who knew him well‚” senior communications manager Buhle Zuma said.
Zuma further revealed that the university had measures in place to deal with mental health issues but that they had proven to be insufficient.
“We are trying‚ through increasing capacity at CCDU [Counselling and Careers Development Unit] through creating new hotlines‚ through staff identifying students at risk‚ through residence programmes and social media to address issues related to mental health‚ but we clearly need to do more‚” she added in a statement.
The university also posited that it was convening a specialist group of psychologists and psychiatrists to advise on how it could better service the students in need and especially how it could reach those who require counselling‚ but do not reach out for that kind of assistance.
While the university has taken a step towards fighting the scourge of depression it has admitted that it could not do it alone. It has urged members of society to look out for one another and encourage those in despair.