Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and it’s got me thinking a lot about things I can do to make the situation better in Ghana. Depression, Suicide and abuse are not treated properly in this country but at least we have CHRAJ and WAJU. Depression and suicide and mental health issues are ignored in Ghana and I believe that’s a huge boo boo. I don’t know why it is that we are so afraid of death. It’s a subject most do not want to discuss and even more so when someone takes his/her own life. But I think burying our heads in the sand won’t make the problem go away.
Adults and children alike have been committing suicide in Ghana for several years. Our poor record keeping though, means we don’t have actual figures. Most info on suicide in Ghana comes from the sensationalist tabloids who aren’t given much credit for their newsworthiness. We get stories like this one from time to time which shock us to the core momentarily and then we go about our daily business and forget all about the tragedy.
According to this article, over 1500 people, most of them between the ages of 20 and 35, were reported to have committed suicide in 2008. I checked the Annual report of the Ghana Health Service and this wasn’t mentioned. I truly wonder if these reported cases come from the Ghana Police Service or the Health service. Where are these figures from?!!! The 2009 Annual report doesn’t mention Mental Health at all. In 2007 however, according to their annual report,only 3.6% of the budget allocated to the Ghana Health Service went to the Mental health Services. 3.6%? Healthy Mind Healthy Body!!!! I know we have major diseases to deal with like TB and Malaria and Lymphatic Filariasis but seriously…..3.6% explains why we have so few mental health centres and why they are understaffed. Shame on you GHS. You should know better.
I have heard that KNUST has started a counseling centre to deal with these issues amongst its students. It’s a wonderful idea, what with the number of jumpers Tech has had over the years. In searching for that, I discovered Lifeline Ghana. I wonder if they’re fully operational and will be looking deeper into it. They were kind enough to list their phone numbers so I will be giving them a call.
I’d love to see Legon do the same thing Tech is rumoured to be doing, and eventually spread it out all over the country. Anyone interested in seeing that happen should holla @ me. I’m ready to get stuck in but will need all the help I can get. More people on board will give us a bigger voice.
So um, Happy Suicide Prevention Day! 😀 Remember to hug your loved ones and tell them you care. And that loner of a coworker, maybe you should invite em out for a cup of coffee. I want to see us do this all day of the year. This ain’t christmas to think about only on the D day 🙂
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