3 Students Die From Suicide at Wits

A bigger spotlight is needed when it comes to student mental health. In just two weeks, three students from the University of the Witwatersrand died by suicide. The University's Student Representative Council has spoken on the matter.


Three students from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) passed as a result of suicide. The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) put out a statement speaking on the matter and mental health.

Of the three students, one was a student from the medical school and one final year Bachelor of Arts (BA) student.

The statement read:

It is again with great sadness to report that in the past two weeks we have again lost lives through suicide. It is triggering to see young people deciding to take their lives mainly because of the pressure the University places upon students.

The SRC has expressed concern as more and more student suicides are being reported and want greater care to be taken when it comes to students and their academics. They are therefore demanding:

  • All exams should have a minimum of 24 hours window period
  • Every student should be allowed to defer if they feel like they under pressure without having to go through the documentation process

"These demands are informed by the behaviour of PRIVILEGED lecturers who do not want to acknowledge the state we are in as a country, with the loadshedding, the social injustices that affect students' ability to actively participate in online teaching and learning," the SRC continued to say.

These students also don't want to see poor and marginalised students be excluded the way they did when the University had Adam Habib as a Vice-Chancellor saying, "A VC who enforces the systematic exclusion is our enemy".

Wits' silence on these deaths has also not gone unnoticed with the SRC being concerned about the state of the University under the current leadership that "is not decisive in addressing issues".

We still encourage students to reach out to student leaders should they need help.

Should students, and also staff, feel like they need help they can call the Higher Health helpline at 0800 36 36 36 or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group helpline at 0800 456 789.



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