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OAU records growing cases mental illness during students’ exams

Lunatic displays have been the subject of discussions among the students of Obafemi Awolowo University since the second-semester examinations commenced.

CAMPUS REPORTER confirmed that at least students have shown signs of mental illness either during examinations or while preparing in the lecture theatres.

Okeya Sunday, a 300 level student, who witnessed one of the scenes, narrated how a young lady started shouting “women are better than men” and laughing hysterically at Oduduwa lecture theatre of the school.

Mr Okeya said the lady had already packed stones inside her clothes before the intervention of the school’s security team.

“I was shocked because this is like the third case in just two weeks,” said Mr Sunday.

Our correspondent also witnessed the case of a female student, drenched, who was running helter-skelter before the arrival of the security team. She had read all night.

Oluwaseun Caleb told our correspondent that the case of mental disorder during exam period is not new but that of this semester is really outrageous.

“Virtually every day after lecturers have ended for the semester, we get the news of one person or the other behaving abnormally,” Mr Caleb said.

According to the World Health Organization, mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms and are generally characterised by some combinations of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others.

“Examples are schizophrenia, depression, intellectual disabilities and disorders due to drug abuse. Most of these disorders can be successfully treated,” a WHO publication stated.

When contacted for comments, the director of the school clinic, Adedayo Irinoye, told CAMPUS REPORTER that he is on work leave and won’t be able to speak on the issue.

Meanwhile, one of the doctors-on-duty on Friday, who preferred to be addressed as Dr Orioke, confirmed the situation of the affected students and added that although the number is outrageous this semester, it is not surprising.

She said: “Exams can’t cause mental illness but a pile-up of stress and drug abuse can. Some of them have the symptoms before exams too.

“Some of those students don’t take time to rest during the examination period. Some will even take excess coffee to prevent them from sleeping.

“They should take enough rest and not overstress their brains.”

However, the spokesperson of the institution, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the authorities are aware of the cases and are doing everything in their capacity to salvage the situation.

He noted that the health centre of the school has been equipped to take care of the problem.

“If they can’t handle it, the university has a teaching hospital. But I can assert that none of the cases has been taken out of the school,” Mr Olanrewaju said.

” Apart from the medical team, we have professional counsellors, who attend to the affected students after medical treatment.”

Also, he said, echoing Dr Orioke, that some of the students have mental issues as a result of lack of rest, mental stress from ‘crash reading’, the use of anti-sleeping pills and hard drugs with similar effects.

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