Tejada suicide not mere ‘cause & effect’ | Inquirer Opinion

Tejada suicide not mere ‘cause & effect’

/ 08:38 PM March 27, 2013

Pointing to a perceived root cause doesn’t necessarily solve a complex problem or prevent a similar incident from happening again. The Kristel Tejada suicide is not necessarily a sample case of “cause and effect” as perceived by many and projected by media. As in all cases of suicide, a psychological factor is present; and any psychological or medical problem that influences behavior—and causes depression—can play dirty tricks on the mind leading the person affected to think of suicide.

The economic factor, to be sure, played a role in this case, but most likely there were other factors that must have come into play, and these we do not know. Evidence-based medical researches have shown that suicide is usually not preventable in those who are determined to commit it; and among those who failed in their initial attempts, it can still be repeated, unless a hero on a boat pulls them out of the murky water they’re submerged in.

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Rules are made to ensure fairness and equitable behavior. The “bracketing scheme” is an issue because of some grey areas. Here is where the flexibility of university administrators becomes important. Each situation should be judged on a case-by-case basis. How do you really assess the “net worth” of the students’ families?

Not so long ago during the Corona impeachment trial, we saw how even well-educated and prominent persons can have different interpretations about what is the actual economic status or financial capability of a person. The point is: “How much” is not simple arithmetic.

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My unsolicited suggestion to all similarly placed students is for them to focus on their future rather than on their current situation. They should be resourceful in the face of their financial difficulties; and they should find a job, even just a part-time job. There are a lot of working students like UP Manila Chancellor Manny Agulto himself was. Mere classification as a “service case” or “E” category should carry with it a “self-uplifting” pride and it should not be viewed as a “dole” to an indigent person. “Dignity of labor” for working students should be promoted and encouraged. UP Manila and the UP System and other universities can make known and commend successful professionals who, once upon a time, were working students—for others to emulate.

—RAMON F. ABARQUEZ JR. MD
Academician, National Academy of Science and Technology
Professor emeritus, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila

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If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Center for Mental Health hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).

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TAGS: education, Kristel Tejada, Letters to the Editor, opinion, suicide, UP Manila
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