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Health News of Sunday, 2 April 2017


Mental health disorder cause of suicide – Mental Health boss

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

He said people who commit suicide are individuals who have serious mental illnesses.

Addressing students of the Valley View university Techiman campus, he said, "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/she has another opportunity to try it again some other time," he added.

Mental health summit

The mental health seminar was on the theme, "Healthy minds, healthy society" and it was aimed at ensuring that student related suicide cases are not recorded in the school.

Dr. Osei lamented about the number of people who are losing their lives to suicide, saying they were experiencing mental illness in one way or the other. "Often people who are considering suicide are dealing with a combination of poor mental health and difficult life events. But with effective treatment, social support and time, many who have tried to end, or considered ending their lives can go on to live full and productive lives". He added

Dr. Osei also attributed the recent increase in suicide cases to poverty, issues that are weighing people down and are unable to share and also more importantly, the way the media reports and "makes so many noise about it". "What is happening today is nothing new, periodically within the past four five years, we've been recording cases of suicide and after we talk about it and it goes down, we go back to sleep without addressing the issues and then later it bounce back".

Knowing someone who has recently died by suicide may also increase risk, hence "the more the media laments on issues bothering suicide, the more people who have attempted suicide are triggered to try it again".

For people with a 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 recalled the microfinance scandal that has hit the Brong Ahafo region as a social economic factor that push people into depression and this according to Dr. Osei is the major cause of suicides in the region and urged residents to consider appreciating what has happened and opening up with people on what they're going through. He further added that "impression without expression could lead to depression which leads to suicide".

He concluded by commending the school for organizing such a seminar and advised that participants take such messages to their various communities in order to address mental health challenges in our societies.

Brong Ahafo Regional health coordinator Mr. Joseph Yere also expressed worry over the rising number of mental health patients roaming in the streets of the region adding that "the number of patients in the region keeps increasing for the past few years and in the 2016 report, we attended to over 8,000 patients in the entire region with different categories of mental disorders".

He also added that the number of mental health patients walking in public places stands at 627 as at the end of 2017 with the unit only able to treat about 5 patients due to the cost involved.

Mr. Yere highlighted on a number of issues hindering the fight against mental health in the region and "key amongst them is the fact that mental health is yet to be integrated into the National health insurance scheme and mental health drugs are very expensive and beyond the strength of patients".

He also made mention of lack of funds to support the staff of the unit as another major challenge and called on government to come to their aid by instructing the local government authority to give financial allocations to mental health authorities and also hook mental health on to the national health insurance authority.