Mr Sylvester Basagnia, the Upper West Regional Mental Health Coordinator, has observed that untreated depression is a leading cause of suicidal ideations and poses a high tendency of suicide among people.
He said depression is an embodiment of many factors that ideate thoughts of suicide among people in the face of some challenges life presents before them.
Mr Basagnia made the observation in an interview on Info Radio’s morning conservation, “Zienyaanye Upper West” with host Gabriel Mwini on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
The World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on September 10 every year in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, on the triennial (2021 – 2023) theme, “Creating Hope through Action”.
Mr Basagnia said that suicide was not just a Ghanaian phenomenon but also a global health concern as it reportedly contributes about 1.5 per cent of annual global deaths.
He intimated that most people commit suicide or cultivate thoughts of suicide when they feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness in some social or personal situations.
He indicated that failure to accomplish some life goals, death of a relation, non-assuring sickness, exaggerated shame, stigma, divorce, and other related intimate relationship issues, sexual abuse, among others were also some of the causes of suicide ideations and suicide.
He added that there were also some perceived biological and traumatizing psychological factors that push people into committing suicide.
Mr Basagnia explained that the lack of social connection from relatives and friends often leads depressed people to actuate their thoughts of suicidal action.
He encouraged people in distressed situations to open up to their relatives and friends saying “a problem shared is half solved”, and he also urged friends and relatives to offer support to their distressed relations.
He emphasized that suicide was never an option and that it was abnormal for an individual to ideate suicide in the face of their challenges, adding that “challenges in life are normal, and no condition s permanent.”
Mr Basagnia disclosed that the 2022 half-year health review recorded two cases of suicide in the Upper West Region, the same number recorded in 2020 and 2021 within the same period.
He further revealed that 25 cases of parasuicide were recorded within the half year, a little higher than 23 recorded in 2020 and 17 recorded in 2021 within the same period.
The Wa Municipal Mental Health Coordinator, Mr Victor Dadzo assured that health authorities were on top of the game in helping to discard suicidal ideations from the minds of people as the theme sought to restore and create hopes in people.
He urged the public, including friends and relations, to be each other’s keepers in preventing incidences of suicide within the communities in which they live.
He thus advised the people to practice human monitoring in order to determine when an individual portrays a change in behaviour, maybe as a result of depression, and might begin to ideate suicide.
He further admonished that the first port of call when one suspects an attempt to commit suicide is the health facilities where the victims can be helped to survive.
They called for the support of all stakeholders, including families, and religious and traditional leaders in counselling activities to augment the efforts of the health services in clamping down on suicide actions.
Source: Info Radio