By Laudia Sawer
Tema, Sept 10, GNA - Dr Akwasi Osei, Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Authority, has advised parents against putting undue pressure on their children to attain academic laurels beyond their abilities.
According to Dr Osei, forcing children to study a course against their wishes could trigger suicidal tendencies in them.
He gave the advice on Monday in Tema during the commemoration of the World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 on the theme, “Working together to prevent suicide”.
He noted that it was wrong and dangerous for parents to impose their preferred schools, and professions on their children adding that some even pushed their children to attain certain grades even if it was beyond their abilities.
“Instead of putting undue pressure on them, recognize their interest and abilities and guide them towards achieving their dreams,” he stated.
He observed that previously, suicide was a problem of the middle aged to the elderly but now children as young as nine years, teenagers and people in their early 20s were courting it.
Dr Osei added that suicide was four times common in men than women, stating however that women attempted it four times more than men.
He indicated that for every one suicide that occurred, 1,000 people would have attempted, planned or thought of doing it.
According to him, in Ghana, an estimated 1,500 people died annually from suicide adding that 20 of such cases were reported during the first quarter of 2017.
He added that there were periodic reports of suicide surges every five to seven years in Ghana with 2011 and 2017 been typical examples.
Touching on some causes of suicide, he stated that 90 to 95 per cent of all cases of attempted suicide emanated from mental health problems out of which 80 per cent were due to depression.
Others were long suffering of chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, socio-economic factors, indebtedness, relationship problems, sense of failure and frustration, sense of disconnect from others, among others.
Dr John Yabani, Tema Metropolitan Health Director, in a welcoming address, said the Adolescent Health Unit of the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate was using its corners and school clubs to educate the youth on how to handle suicidal tendencies and other mental health issues.
Dr Yabani stated that suicide was the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults therefore the need to intensify education among the youth on how to prevent it.
He called on all stakeholders especially parents, teachers, district assemblies and religious bodies to help the health sector to reduce to the bearest minimum suicide and its related issues in the Metropolis.
Some of the stakeholders in attendance were officials of the Ghana Education Service, health officials, Media, Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.