Policy directive on Suicidal Preventive Plan needed – Dr Donnir

Samuel Akapule, GNA

Bolgatanga, Aug. 21, GNA – Dr Gordon Donnir,
the Head of the Department of Psychiatry Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching
Hospital (KATH), has expressed concern about the high rate of suicide and
called for a National Policy directive on the Suicidal Preventive plan.

He said such a plan was very important for
mental health delivery but it was beyond the means of the health facilities.

“We need a national policy that would bring
uniformity across the country and to ensure that programmes and policies are
implemented efficiently at both the national, regional and community levels to
help in tracking and addressing the issue.

The Senior Specialist Psychiatrist was
speaking at a workshop “on the Edinburg Per-Natal Depression Screening
Toolkits” for Midwives, Community Psychiatrist Nurses and Community Health
Nurses organized by Basic Needs Ghana in Bolgatanga.

The event was aimed at empowering the health
workers to use the Edinburg Pre-Natal Depression Screening Toolkits which had
been recommended by the World Health Organization(WHO) in integrating mental health
care into maternal healthcare delivery.

Dr Donnir said most suicidal tendencies were
associated with depression which is a mental disorder that could also be a predisposing
factor to developing many diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

“In depression the victim often loses the
ability to control the mood which is equal to energy loss. Depression for more
than two weeks could lead to major health complications and that confirms the
urgency for the policy makers and the government to pay special attention to
the mental health sector”, he said.

Dr Donnir said apart from victims of
depression becoming addicted to drugs and other alcoholic beverages, they could
also become dependent and vulnerable.

To mitigate the problem there is the need for
a radical national policy, he said, and called on policy makers and the
government to initiate the process to help tackle the phenomenon.

Dr Donnir said apart from engaging the
community health nurses, psychiatrists and midwives in handling mental illness,
there is the need to include into the suicidal preventive plan, relatives and
caregivers of mental ill patients.

He urged relatives and care givers of mental
ill patients not to allow victims of depression to sleep alone in their rooms
and also ensure that they are kept away from harmful tools from them since that
could make it easy for some to commit suicide.


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