Mental illness tends to manifest at varsity student age - psychiatrist

The news of the death of a Witwatersrand student who jumped from a residential building in Braamfontein and succumbed to her death sent shockwaves and reopened up discussions of mental disorders.

According to reports, 19-year-old Kago Moeng spent several hours on the edge of the six-story building with several students encouraging her to jump - before finally making the fatal leap.

Africa Melane, standing in for Eusebius McKaiser, was joined in studio by guests for a discussion on tertiary students who are battling depression.

Tshegofatso Ubisi, Wits Medical Student chair, and a third-year medical student says there various challenges facing students. The most prominent are academic stress, finances, gender-based harm and racial discrimination on campus.

In relation to academics, we have ridiculously high working hours and workloads, especially the health sciences students, who work in hospitals from 8 to 5 daily and are still expected to engage with the work and study efficiently.

Tshegofatso Ubisi, Wits Medical Student Council chair, and a third-year medical student

Ubisi goes on to say that when lookings at Wits specifically, there is very little learning support.

Students from rural and poorer backgrounds are largely at a disadvantage, she adds. They are often unfamiliar with things such as computers and can also find language a challenge. This adds further pressure to them, she says.

On a general basis the stress levels and pressure placed on students is immense. Students have very little opportunity to speak about how difficult it is to be a student especially when they are the beacon of hope for their community or family.

Zamo Mbele, clinical psychologist and Sadag board member

Dr Mashadi Motlana, a specialist psychiatrist, says the age of vulnerability for most serious mental illnesses is around the time most students begin university.

It is at that the age group where a serious mental illness may start to manifest is around this age group.

Dr Mashadi Motlana, specialist psychiatrist

One of the most stressful life events is migration, says Motlana. Often students have to uproot themselves from where they come from to another town, or country in order to pursue their studies.

Such events may trigger mental illness in someone who is already vulnerable, she explains.

Depression isn't the only diagnosis in which people may commit suicide. Depression may be part of another mental illness.

Dr Mashadi Motlana, specialist psychiatrist

Motlana says depression is defined when an individual experiences a low mood for at least a two week period without lifting despite any positive events.

For more on how to identify signs of depression listen to clip below:


This article first appeared on 702 : Mental illness tends to manifest at varsity student age - psychiatrist


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Sadag call centre sees slight volume increase following Wits suicide

Sadag call centre sees slight volume increase following Wits suicide

The depression group ops director Cassey Chambers says the stigma that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness must change.

Wits suicide highlights need for student mental health support on and off campus

Wits suicide highlights need for student mental health support on and off campus

A Witwatersrand student jumped to her death from a building in Braamfontein on Saturday.

Bafana Bafana star raises awareness around mental health

Bafana Bafana star raises awareness around mental health

Bafana Bafana soccer star Delron Buckley uses his book 'My Life' to raise awareness for mental health.

How depression takes its toll on relationships

How depression takes its toll on relationships

Clinical psychologist, Zamo Mbele chats to Azania about the effects of depression on World Mental Health Day.

Here's what to do if you're suffering from stress or depression at work

Here's what to do if you're suffering from stress or depression at work

World Health Organisation states common mental disorders like depression and anxiety can have an impact on one's ability to work.

 Suicide survivor speaks: 18 men commit suicide daily in South Africa

Suicide survivor speaks: 18 men commit suicide daily in South Africa

CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies speaks to a suicide survivor to understand the underlying factors for SA men taking their own lives.

Popular articles
'Banned ANC delegates have shot themselves in the foot, got what they deserved'

'Banned ANC delegates have shot themselves in the foot, got what they deserved'

Deputy Editor of Financial Mail, Sikonathi Mantshantsha says branches were warned but did not listen, and he has no sympathy.

Adam Habib: Where would the money to fund free education come from?

Adam Habib: Where would the money to fund free education come from?

Vice-Chancellor of Wits University Adam Habib says Zuma's promise requires about R40 billion in order to be fulfilled.

[LISTEN] 'I never wanted to be President, I was not ambitious'

[LISTEN] 'I never wanted to be President, I was not ambitious'

Listen to what President Zuma had to say on Friday at the #ANC54 Gala Dinner ahead of the elective conference.

JUST IN: Some delegates barred from voting #ANC54

JUST IN: Some delegates barred from voting #ANC54

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe announced that some delegates will not be able to vote in this weekend's elective conference.

Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

Van Damme: De Lille has until Monday to respond to maladministration claims

The DA has suspended Patricia de Lille from party activities but Eusebius McKaiser says its statement 'is clear as mud'.

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

LISTEN: Father of drowned toddler speaks of dangers and heartbreak

Connor Weber, fell unnoticed into a bin of water and drowned.

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.