When a member of a university community dies, especially a student, it causes considerable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities in university environments.
As such students deserve better-resourced counseling and psychological services setting after traumatic losses due to suicide, ill health, accident, abduction, or homicide.
For many of students, and even faculty/staff when they experience recent or past traumas, including deaths, losses, violence, or other assaults, they may be experiencing memories and feelings from those events and have increased symptoms. Many in the university community especially students may feel the effect of traumas, even those who have not directly experienced the crisis may be affected in different ways.
Reactions to trauma varies, some students may be at greater risk than others for developing sustained and long-term reactions to a traumatic event including disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), deep sadness, sudden anxiety, severe anger, insomnia, drug/alcohol abuse, withdrawal from academics, prolonged shock and denial, and reactions that could include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, self-harm, danger to others, and even physical symptoms.
All around the nation, many Nigerians continue to express doubts about most higher institutions ability to serve students in crisis as such there is need for better mental health support and emergency psychological services on campus.
There is an urgent need for the establishment or full development of counseling and psychological services (CAPS) in all universities and other like-minded institutions. With emphasis on grief and bereavement programs.
In every CAPS center, there is a need for a designated group of trained school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses/psychiatrists who are tapped to respond to crises as they arise.
Such a program or office focuses on the mental health needs of students and could offer guidance to staff and faculty in times of crisis or trauma.
Such an office will offer individual and group counseling to students and staff who have lost a loved one to suicide, murder, illness, or an accident. Such an office helps address prevention and intervention of harm and violence on campus and provides support to students experiencing or causing distress in the campus community.
It is a center where counseling services are available mostly to active or regularly enrolled students.
We know that stigma around seeking psychological services and support may prevent some students from seeking help. Therefore, efforts should be made to educate and help students understand that these services are part of standard care in life. It shows motivation, strength and not deficits on their parts.
It is not uncommon across the nation to see students agitating on campus and engaged in street protests following the deaths of schoolmates, and some school authorities condemning such actions by students, or in some cases, shut the campus after asking students to vacate it. This all-too-common approach by both sides is certainly not the healthiest way for the university community (students and administration) to experience collective or personal tragedies and losses.
Developing and promoting awareness, as well as promoting the presence of counseling and psychological services (CAPS), will benefit distressed students and concerned school administration collectively, especially during times of bereavement.
John Egbeazien Oshodi is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government Consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional and Career Development. A former Interim Associate Dean at the Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African settings. In 2011, he introduced the State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and the Nasarawa State University where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. The Development Professor and International Liaison Consultant at the African University of Benin, and a Virtual Faculty at the ISCOM University, Benin of Republic. Founder of the Proposed Transatlantic EgbeazienUniversity (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, Openness. Author of over 40 academic publications/creations, at least 200 public opinion writeups on African issues, and various books.
Prof John Egbeazien Oshodi, a forensic psychologist based in the United States, wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org