Gov’t urged to invest in mental health to check suicides

A clinical psychologist and suicidologist at the University of Ghana has urged the government to invest in and support mental health to prevent suicides.

Dr. Joseph Osafo bemoaned government’s lack of seriousness in improving mental health in the country, a situation he sees as contributing growing suicide cases.

He said although suicide in the country is largely under-reported, many of it could have been prevented if there was a proper and effective mental health system in the country.

“[Mental Health sector] is still understaffed, under budgeted among other things. We even train people here, the clinical psychologists we train for the Ghana Health Service are not paid well then you have them abandon posts,” Citifmonoine.com quotes him as saying.

 He also added his voice to calls for counseling in schools to taken more seriously by being proactive.

“Sometimes it is important to take the help to the person, and go talking to them,” Dr. Osarfo said.

He also suggests: “We may need a policy; we are trying to get our findings out. We need a serious public policy on this and open up to others to call for assistance when they are in trouble, for instance, if there is a toll-free line they have to call 24/7.”

In the past three three weeks at least three suicide cases have been reported.

 Although most suicides in the country go unreported, officials say the recent trend of suicides reported in the public domain call for more attention and urgent steps to arrest the situation. 

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