‘Let’s observe irregular behavioural changes quickly to control mental problems’

Accra A non-governmental organisation advocating for suicide prevention has advised the public to keenly observe to detect unusual changes in the behaviour of people around them and advise for immediate health consultation.

Such changes could be seen in the way people react to issues, talk, confront others, or show emotions.

Mrs Favor Hilda Apini Brown, the Founder of the NGO; Favor Foundation for Life, gave the advice at the commemoration of the World Suicide Prevention Day in Accra.

It was organised by the Centre for Health Systems and Policy Research (CHESPOR) of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and the Mental Health Wellbeing Foundation.

Mrs Brown said people usually thought depression was the biggest cause of mental problems and suicide, however, the cause is more of daily problems of financial situations, relationship problems, parents forcing students to take up courses they have no interest in, and many more, she said.

Be observant and show care for others at home, work places and in society, no matter how strong you think they might be. Together, we can have a suicide-free Ghana at least for a whole year.

Ms Maura Ntow, a Clinical Psychologist with the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, said early signs include the lack of interest in things one normally had a strong zeal for.

She said to do away with depression and suicide, one needed to win the confidence of others, with whom to share his or her problems.

A lot of the time, people are full of negativity, which doesn’t help the body. People should learn to pay attention to the little good sides they have and dwell on them for strength in times of stress, she said.

Dr Daniel Acorlor of the Public Health Department, Greater Accra Regional Hospital, reiterated the need to share problems as it helped to reduce anxiety and pain.

He called for the establishment and activation of social supporting networks in communities to offer opportunities for the sharing of problems for support.

Ms Patience Agyare, a Mental Health Practitioner, encouraged the public to reflect on what they loved to do and try doing them in moments of stress.

We should learn to concentrate more on our strengths than our weakness. It’s okay to do one’s best without striving to reach perfection or satisfy society, she said.

She urged employers to design employee-assisted programmes and tools to help them to be less stressful to stay fit.

Mr Victus Kwaku Kpesese, the Director of Administration, Mental Health Authority, said children should be brought up with the reality of life to enable them to psyche their minds.

They should learn that they are not living in a perfect world of wealth and beautiful relationships, he said.

The Authority is moving the institutionalised mental health system to community-based where the public could receive doorstep psychiatric support, he said.

He said the public should bear in mind that mental cases moved from acute to serious if they did not get the care, love and support from close relations and loved ones.

Dr Gina Teddy, the Coordinator of CHESPOR, GIMPA, said some youth were engaged in substance abuse to forget about their problems, which sometimes resulted in their death.

Reports say about 1,500 suicide cases are recorded in Ghana every year, but the unrecorded could be four times higher.

Section 57 of the Criminal Offences Act explained suicide as a criminal offence and anyone who made a person to commit suicide also committed an offence, she said.

But suicide shouldn’t be an option because if you succeed, you haven’t gained anything and if you don’t, you have committed an offense and would face the law.

Source: Ghana News Agency