By: Oscar Komla Bedzra |
Suicide is an act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Paramount among the risk factors is untreated depression. Globally, one person commits suicide every 40 seconds resulting in 800,000 suicide cases every year.
In Ghana, suicide is becoming an alarming cause of death as many people especially, adolescents opt for suicide as the end of challenges in life.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report which was updated in April 2017 placed Ghana 79th out of 186 countries on the list of suicide cases by countries in 2015.
From my careful analysis, I found out that, Ghana placed 38th on the African continent with our neighboring country, Ivory Coast in the lead as far as suicide in Africa is concerned. Having further narrowed it down to West Africa, Ghana placed 11th out of 18 countries as victimised countries of suicide
In 2016, 68 people (28 males and 40 females) committed suicide including a 10-year old boy who hanged himself after failing his examination.
In a statement issued by the Mental Health Authority (MHA), in September 2015, it could be deduced that the rate of suicide in Ghana can be reduced if the society and counseling centres (mostly in schools) play their roles efficiently.
Lecturers, students, teachers, doctors and all manner of personalities stand the risk of committing suicide if it is not properly addressed.
This indeed, is an obvious and an undeniable indication of the gradual breakdown in our guidance and counseling services in our dear nation and from the above analysis, the country stands at high risk of suicide rampancy in the absence of intensified education.
Indications of Possible Suicide
- Talking about feeling hopeless and / or having no purpose
- Someone feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
- Being a burden to others
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Financial loss
- Loss of relationship
- Absence of social support
- Cultural and religious belief
Permit Me to Highlight Few Causes of Suicide
- Failure of being each other’s keepers: We have individually, as friends failed to help solve each others’ problems leading to suicide as the only means of finding an end to social challenges
- Poor advertisement of suicide- related issues on the social media: We have as a nation, not done enough or gone far in respect of advertisement revolving around suicide-related issues which would have otherwise yielded solution to problems of the citizenry.
- Youth unemployment: Youth unemployment in Ghana causes many youth to involve themselves in this act since they underestimate themselves in trying to compare themselves to others even after education.
- Being isolated in the form of stigmatisation: People intentionally cause their own death in a bid to find solution to their loneliness. This mostly happens in schools and social places of endeavour.
- Marital instability: Married couples have problems in their marriage. It is therefore the responsibility of marriage counsellors to prepare the minds of would-be couples prior to their marriage to control the alarming rate of the canker.
- Poor parental communication: Many parents of late, do not take the time and pain to comprehend their wards in petty issues. This affects the child’s reaction to the problem and pushes the child to do the unthinkable.
- Emotionally unsupportive family: Some families do not support their members on emotional grounds. This makes these members feel less important in the family and choose to terminate their lives.
- Financial loss: Many people make lifetime investments in anticipation of reaping the output and so get depressed when they encounter financial losses while they least expect them. Most of these persons tend to commit suicide since they have no other alternatives of rising.
- Poor/absence of recreational facilities: Some recreational facilities are meant for stabilising the mental conditions of people in stressful times. It makes them reflect over good things ahead of them and in turn give hope to the hopeless.
- Lower levels of education: People who do not go higher in life by reason of one or two obstacles tend to attach low significance to their personality as they watch their colleagues climb the academic ladder ahead of them .These sentiments discourage them and make them feel worthless . As this persists devoid of counselling services, the individual may attempt taking his/her life.
What We can Do to Curb this Alarming Canker
- School – Based programmes including culture to help students develop social, emotional, and behavioural skills to establish positive and healthy relationships.
- Age – Appropriate infant and toddler care
- Post school programmes to provide tutoring just to improve academic performance.
- Activities that improve knowledge and understanding of healthy dating relationships.
- Classroom – Based health curriculum that teach ways of coping with loss and disappointments and studying signs of depression.
- Establishment of business improved/favoured environment to increase community employment opportunities that are available.
- Schools must create, implement, monitor and carefully evaluate policies to check and prevent bullying behaviour.
Let us join hands against suicide, institute guidance and counselling centres in place and our country Ghana will be a conducive place for us all. It takes you and I to prevent that friend from perishing.
NB: The writer is a level 300 BSC. Agriculture Science Education student of University of Education Winneba