A mental health professional in Ghana, Paul Kumi has called for adequate sensitization and public awareness on mental health in the country.
He bemoaned the low level of education amongst Ghanaians on issues of mental health.
Speaking to Citi News as part of the celebration of World Mental Health Day, Paul Kumi urged the government to intensify public education to help curb mental disorders.
“We live in a big society that does not really understand mental health. So when people need help, we can’t even tell let alone support them in the kind of help required. So basically that is how our society and our culture have affected mental health negatively.”
“I think it is more about education because when someone is suffering from mental health, they don’t bleed for you to see that they are suffering and that’s why sometimes people miss it.”
Mental Health Authority calls for decriminalization of suicide
Meanwhile, the Mental Health Authority is pushing for the decriminalization of suicide in Ghana.
In Ghana, the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) indicates that a person who plans to commit suicide commits a first-degree felony whether or not the suicide was successful.
This law, according to the Authority rather encourages such persons to take every measure not to fail in their acts and also discourages suicidal persons from reporting suicidal crisis early enough for help.
But launching the 2020 World Mental Health Week Celebration, Board Chair for the Mental Health Authority, Estelle Appiah, said it is time Ghana joins other countries to decriminalize suicide.
“If they survive the attempt, what happens? They are treated as criminals. We need rather to be doing away with the criminal aspect of attempted suicide and make sure that the people who have suicidal tendencies receive the healthcare that they require,” she said.
Suicide was thus the second leading cause of death amongst the age range of 15 and 29 in 2015 while 78 percent of global suicides occur in low and middle-income countries.