In a statement issued by the Mental Health Authority, it said they find the suicide rate alarming and believe it can be prevented if the society and counselling centres in schools played their roles effectively.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chief Executive of the MHA Dr Akwasi Osei.
He said the counselling centres in schools across the country must also be blamed for such growing numbers of suicide among students.
He, therefore, called for “a national agenda” to stem the growing spate of suicides.
“The Authority finds the [suicide] trend disturbing and considers it a failure of the society to support its youth by ensuring that efficient and accessible support systems are in place to help build the mental fortitude of the youth and students in particular in their times of weakness and susceptibility,”
“It is important that as a society, we pay particular attention to young people because those who attempt suicide are more likely to finally die by their own hands, whether by intent or accident,” the statement added.
The MHA has also called on lawmakers to decriminalise attempted suicide in the statutes of Ghana if the fight against suicide is to be won.
“Attempted suicide is not a criminal issue. Neither is it a moral issue or spiritual problem. It is simply a cry for help to resolve psychosocial issues and therefore more appropriately is a medical problem,” Dr Osei notes.
He said this move will make it easier for suicide survivors to open up about their struggles and receive help.
He also called on legislators to pass the legislative instrument to the Mental Health Act, 2012 (Act 846) to enable the Mental Health Authority to start massive public education and mental health promotion.
“Let this unfortunate situation galvanise us to come together as a nation to fight the canker,” said the statement.
“It is about time we looked out for each other as a society, particularly our youth. It may not be easy to conclude that a student is suicidal, but if you notice that a student suddenly becomes a lot more reserved than they usually are, it should raise a red flag, and you may be doing some good service to the person if you contact the Counselling Service in their school or call the Mental Health Authority on 0206814666/0503444793 for a session with an expert,” the statement said.