MXit help for suicidal students

2011-02-01 22:35
Cape Town - Up to 2 500 matric students sought counselling on MXit after receiving their results and a large percentage were suicidal, the social network has revealed.

"More than 22% of the 2 500 matric pupils that sought counselling support on MXit were suicidal after receiving the results of their matric exams. Forty percent of these suicidal learners attributed their depression to being anxious and unsure about their future," said Marlon Parker mobile counselling head of Reconstructed Living Labs (Rlabs).

Parker said that matrics are not well-prepared for life beyond school and require information to limit the uncertainty they may face.

"Our sessions with learners earlier this year confirmed that their main concerns are uncertainty over what to do after failing the examinations, being anxious about the future as well as over being too late to enrol into tertiary education."

School leavers who elect to try and find work after completing matric face an uncertain future as employment opportunities are often limited and they may also face financial difficulties that prevent the pursuit of further study.

Volunteers

Rlab had a team of 27 volunteers to counsel matrics after the results were published and new media may be the ideal channel to provide assistance as demonstrated on social networks like Facebook.

"Information is key for learners and misinformation can often lead to unnecessary pain.  There was a learner in Bloemfontein, for example, who committed suicide after receiving her results.

"Although she failed, she did receive a distinction and would have qualified to write supplementary examinations. This could perhaps have been avoided if more information and access to counselling was available," said Parker.

MXit has also introduced information for school leavers on its counselling portal, Angel. This includes information on tertiary institutions, bursaries available and jobs offered.
 
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