About 95 percent of suicide cases are due to mental disorders, says the Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Akwasi Osei of the Accra Psychiatric hospital.
He mentioned other causes of suicide as abuse of alcohol and other drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
Dr Osei, who said this at the launch of this year’s World Day Against Suicide called on the government for the speedy passage of the mental health bill to help address the challenges facing mental patients to ensure health care delivery.
This year’s celebration will be under the theme “Preventing suicide in Multicultural society.”
Dr.Osei said death through suicide is avoidable, adding that the country had traditionally looked at suicide as abominable and an issue for stigma.
He said modern cases of suicide were from mental illness and that people who attempted suicide had a problem for which they wanted solution.
“Suicide is a distress call and a cry for help, people who attempt suicide are persons requiring help,” he added.
Dr Osei said as a nation there was the need to de-criminalise attempted suicide.
“This is not to say we are encouraging suicide but to say that we should recognize it as a medical and social issue requiring better approach than simply calling it a criminal offence “he stressed
He called on the public to embark on an education drive to help create awareness on the alarming cases in the country.
Ghana’s representative for International Suicide Prevention, Dr. Charity Akotia, said the public should not discriminate against people who attempt suicide but rather get closer to them to know their problems and help in solving them.
Dr. Akotia, who is also lecturer at the University of Ghana, Psychology Department called on the media to be circumspect in the way they report on suicidal stories.
“The Media should avoid using picture, kind of words and providing information on suicide sites among others,” she added.
Mr. Wisdom Mensah Dali, Executive Director of the Network for Anti-Suicide and Crises Intervention, an NGO said suicide was fast becoming an urgent issue facing the Ghanaian society which needed to be addressed.
“Despite these increasing reports of suicides, we continue to turn a blind eye to the subject matter and have sustained barriers that make suicide prevention a very difficult intervention,” he added.