Mental health failings contributing to suicides – Mental Health Authority

The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Dr. Akwesi Osei, has blamed the recent suicide cases in the country to the increase in mental health related cases in the country.

He said suicide was a leading cause of death for people seriously affected by mental illness.

“One of the topical issues in the country has to do with suicide and of those who have killed themselves; many have experienced depression, bipolar disorder or other forms of mental illness. For every person who dies from suicide, it is thought that at least another 10 people attempted to take their lives but failed. And once someone attempts and fail, he or she has another opportunity to try it again some other time”, he stressed.

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Dr. Akwasi Osei made these revelations on Friday at the Valley View University-Techiman campus during a Mental Health Seminar organised by the institution to prevent students from attempting to indulge in the act. It was on the theme: “Healthy Minds, Healthy society”.

He disclosed that people who consider suicide are dealing with a combination of poor mental health and difficult life events, and therefore recommended effective treatment, social support and time to victims of the condition will help them live productive lives.

He further attributed the recent increase in suicide cases in the country to poverty, issues that are weighing people down for which they are unable to share.

The Mental Health Specialist revealed that, the happenings today were not new, as periodically in the past years, the nation recorded cases of suicide and after a few days of discussions, the nation goes to sleep without addressing the cause, thus, he called for a holistic approach to address the menace.

“For people with mental illness, the distress caused by the illness can be so great they may feel an overwhelming desire to end their life. Also, people recently discharged from psychiatric care are at higher risk of suicide”, he noted.

He observed that the microfinance scandal that hit the Brong Ahafo Region was a socio-economic factor that pushed people into depression resulting in suicides in the region and urged residents to consider opening up to people who have lost their investments through the transaction.

He commended authorities of the University for the Seminar and advised participants to disseminate the message to their peers and communities to help address mental health challenges in the country.

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For his part, the Brong Ahafo Regional Health Coordinator, Mr. Joseph Yere, expressed worry at the rising number of mental health patients on the streets of the capital and major towns in the region.

“The number of patients in the region keeps increasing over the years and in the 2016 Mental Health report, we attended to over 8,000 patients in the entire region with different categories of mental disorders”, he lamented.

He disclosed that 627 mental health patients were walking in public places and regretted his outfit could treat about 5 patients due to the cost involved.

Mr. Yere called for the speedy integration of mental health related medication into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to address the problem of cost to both institutions and patients.

He appealed to government to authorize the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to give financial allocations to mental health institutions in the districts.

By: Mashoud Kombat/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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