Suicide in Ghana: What Gov’t Needs to Do to Curb the Disturbing Phenomenon

With the recent cases of suicide in Ghana, there arises a dire need to treat the matter which has hitherto been of a relegated concern with utmost seriousness…

The recent cases of suicide in some educational institutions in the country, have raised high concerns among stakeholders. Only this week, there have been three cases of suicide in Ghana; a situation which has raised a lot of questions.

Just within three weeks, there have been as many as four suicide-related death reports in the country, with three of the suicides being students. The very strange thing about the pathetic events is that they happened within a very short range.

These recent cases of suicide, have called on the Ghanaian society to be more attentive to the issue of depression, which as we have seen, is of a relegated concern in this part of the world.

According to Psychiatric experts who have spoken up on the issue, depression and other psychological disorders, are the major causes of suicide; and ignorance on these issues should not be allowed to prevail.

Recent Cases

On February 24, 2017, an 18-year-old 100 level Chemical Engineering student of The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Adwoa Agyarkwa Anyimadu-Antwi took her own life by hanging herself with a rope over a ceiling fan inside her hostel room. Reports on the incident have indicated that the deceased’s ex-boyfriend, is the major reason behind the suicide.

In another case, a 16-year-old JHS 2 student of Child of Hope Basic School in Tafo, Barbara Asante killed herself, also by hanging on 7th March, 2017. Although no major cause has been identified, it was indicated that the suicide was as a result of some psychological issues on the part of the girl.

A suicide case was also reported at the Legon Campus of the University of Ghana. A 23-year-old final year student of Consumer Science, Jennifer Nyarko, reportedly fell down from the fourth floor of her hostel, an incident which saw to her death on the spot. Although it has not been ascertained if the fall was an accident or suicide, subsequent reports have indicted the latter.

Suicide in Ghana

According to reports, Ghana records about 1,500 suicide cases annually; a figure which has constituted about seven per cent loss of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Meanwhile, little attention has been paid to suicide cases in the country.

Suicide seems to be under-reported in the country, as the aforementioned figure constitutes only the reported and recorded cases. Owing to the suicidal plague which is rocking the country, psychologists have attempted to wade into the unfortunate circumstance.

One of them is Dr. Joseph Osafo who is of the opinion that the prevailing rate of suicide in Ghana, is as a result of government’s negligence on issues of psychology. This neglect, according to Dr Osafo who was speaking to Citi News, is being reflected in government’s reluctance towards investing in mental health.

Series of suicide cases, according to the expert, could have been prevented if there was a proper and effective mental health system in the country. Dr Osafo who is a Clinical psychologist and suicidologist at the University of Ghana, decried the lack of seriousness in terms of government investments and support for mental health.

To curb the growing rate of suicide in the country, he said that public education must be increased to enable them identify signs of suicide in suicidal people. He emphasized that the public must be entreated to offer comfort and support to people who go through traumatic experiences, to avoid pushing them into entertaining the pathetic thoughts of ending their misery by committing suicide.

Indeed, suicide in Ghana has been of a relegated concern in the country and needs to be treated with all seriousness. Depression is real and for this reason, parents, schools, churches and the society at large, have roles to play in the sensitization of citizens on the need to open up to seek psychological assistance when it is needed.

There are emotionally troubled people roaming the streets everyday, and everyone is being urged to partake in the fight to curb the growing suicide rate, by showing support in any way we can.