BasicNeeds-Ghana in collaboration with Alliance for Mental Health and Development, SpeakYourMind campaign funded by DFID/UKAid has marked this year’s World mental health day with a call on Ghanaians to take action and prevent suicide in the country.

The event was in line with other activities to create political will and advocacy to raise awareness on mental health to decrease stigma and enhance coordination and cooperation in Ghana and beyond.

The mental health week celebration was on the theme: ‘ Working together to prevent suicide- a call for national action’ was marked this Thursday in Accra.

The Executive Director of BasicNeeds-Ghana, Peter Badimark Yaro explained that the government has the moral and legal obligation to safeguard the human rights of its citizens, especially, those affected with mental illness.

He, therefore, urged the government to desist from the criminalization of suspected suicide victims but rather support such persons with the required amenities.

” our government must ensure persons who attempt suicide and survivors of loss to suicide are supported with the required services not criminalise suicide,” he added.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer Mental Health Authority (MHA), Dr. Akwasi Ose said there was a need to raise awareness on the scale of suicide attempts, which in recent times has developed among the youth and children.

He noted the issue of suicide had become more crucial because victims in recent times were mostly the youth and children, stating that, it’s making the phenomenon more worrying.

“very often it is believed that only adults exhibit suicidal behaviours, but it should be known that many children and young people engage in such phenomenon as a result of violence, sexual abuse, bullying, and cyberbullying, among others,” he stated.

According to Dr. Osei, it had also been 25 years since the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) created a platform for people in all nations to recognise, promote and create awareness on mental health issues, adding that, suicidal behaviour existed throughout human history, but due to several complex factors, it had increased gradually in all parts of the world and in the past few decades, had reached alarming statistical levels.

“The WHO puts the figure of people who die by suicide a year at more than 800,000, making it the principal cause of death among people fifteen to twenty-nine years old. Thus every 40 seconds, the world loses someone to suicide”. he said.

” In Ghana, statistics of some five years ago was 1500 deaths per annum through suicide,” Dr. Osei added.

The Country Representative for WHO in Ghana, Dr. Owen Kaluwa advised the public to consider what can improve mental health in the communities that would help reduce suicide.

He outlined some guidelines that the government must consider such as policies to reduce high intake of alcohol, training of non-specialized workers in the health sector to access and manage suicide behavior, identify, treat and care for such victims, education on mental health behaviors among others.

Source: Eric Nii Sackey


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