Psychiatrist, Dr. Akwasi Osei, is warning that suicide cases could rise as the country progresses into a middle-income economy.
Dr. Osei who is also the Chief Executive at the Mental Health Authority says attention must be paid to some of the psychological issues associated with countries whose economies have attained middle-income status.
Suicide "is going to happen more…because there is so much pressure. As we advance to middle-income country, we should expect it,” he said Monday on the Super Morning on Joy FM.
He blames this development on the lack of support, especially from extended family, to relatives in dire need because the attention has now shifted to providing the needs of the nuclear family.
“Now the extended family system has broken down so the traditional support by the extended family system has [also] broken down,” he acknowledged.
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance abuse — including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines — are risk factors.
Preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. It takes family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments.
As the country joins the rest of the world to mark the World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on September 10, the former Chief Psychiatrist expressed worry at the increasing number of cases of suicide among teenagers.
This year is the first WSPD with the theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” This theme is expected to be retained for WSPD in 2019 and 2020.
Experts predict that by 2030, depression alone is likely to be the third leading cause of disease burden in low-income countries and the second highest cause of disease burden in middle-income countries.
However, an appropriate training in physical and mental health care at the workplace, can help identify mental health problems early, even when they manifest as physical complaints, Dr. Osei has advocated.
There are currently about 20 trained clinical psychologists providing mental health care at public health facilities in the country but the figure according to the Chief psychologist is woefully inadequate.
He wants the over 300 trained professionals biding their time to be recruited in the public sector to help manage the situation.
“We want people to recognise that it is an issue that is out there but our ability to handle this issue is what will make the difference,” he said.