UST RECTOR Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. wants stronger action to stem cases of depression and suicide on campus, such as by reducing the load of students to ease academic pressure.
“I have noticed that some programs have 33 to 37 units [per term and] that’s too much, that’s not very healthy,” Dagohoy told the Varsitarian. “Looking at the number of academic units that [the students] have, that’s indicative of too much pressure.”
Dagohoy expressed concern over the frequency of suicide attempts in the University.
“[Suicide attempts are] becoming frequent and the reasons are surprising, academics usually. It gives us a signal about the quality of life of our students,” he told the Varsitarian last Sept. 8.
“I’m not saying that there is a correlation between the number of those people who attempt suicide and these [academic] pressures, but somehow we have to look into all these areas,” he added.
The Rector is set to meet with the University’s Academic Senate to discuss students’ academic and mental health concerns.
Aside from the Rector, the Academic Senate is composed of the vice chancellor, the vice rector for religious affairs, the vice rector for academic affairs and college deans.
Renz Christian Argao, supervising psychologist of the UST Psychotrauma Clinic, cited family problems and rapid change in technology as possible reasons for the increase in suicide cases.
“We also place focus on the developmental stages of the students; as adolescents, they are in a period of change and confusion,” Argao said in an online interview.
Data from the “depression scale report” of the UST Counseling and Career Center showed an average score of 57.21 for Academic Year 2013-2014, indicating that Thomasians, mostly sophomores, felt lethargic, sad and disinterested. The score however was “not enough to warrant a diagnosis for depression.” with reports from Maria Crisanta M. Paloma