Ghanaians lack sympathy for suicide victims – Psychologist

Dr Joseph Osafo, Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, says Ghanaians lack sympathy for suicide victims.

He said generally these people did not usually want to die but want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong with them and often try to draw the attention of people around them to their plight.

However, Dr Osafo said, in Ghana their threats of ending their lives were often met with, “if you want to end your life who cares”.

Dr Osafo said this in Accra during the climax of the Plan Parenthood Association of Ghana’s (PPAG) Youth Action Movement (YAM) MYX six-week project.

The YAM MYX Project aims at ensuring access to information and service for young people with special needs and in restricted environment.

It provides free comprehensive counseling, sexual and reproductive health information and medical services to young people of the Osu Remand Home.

He said anyone was capable of being a suicide victim and urged Ghanaians to pay attention to people who threaten to end their lives and take them to counselors such as pastors for help.

Dr Osafo said the reasons people commit suicide were depression, perceived failure in life, hearing of voices or satanic influences, parental neglect and image problem.

Others are bedwetting, breakup in relations, committing abominable acts, poverty and financial problems, and witchcraft accusations.

Dr Osafo mentioned that people trying to commit suicide usually exhibit symptoms such as sleepless nights, giving out their previous belongings, restless behaviours, unwarranted searching and withdrawals.

He said some people in an attempt to commit suicide survived but had to live with the injuries they had inflicted on themselves.

He urged Ghanaians not condemn or insult suicide victims but rather sympathy with them, and help them to come out of their predicament.

Mr Peter Tweneboa-Kodua, Deputy Director, Department of Social Welfare, urged parents to treat their children well, so that in their old age, the children would be willing to give them the needed support.

Mr Michael Tagoe, PPAG Project Officer and Public Relations Consultant, called on Ghanaians to desist from stigmatizing children living in remand homes and other people living in restricted areas.

Ms Vida Adjei, a student of South Labone Girls Vocational Training Centre and a beneficiary of the YAM MYX project expressed her gratitude to PPAG for the programme, which according to her, had empowered them to have high self-esteem of themselves. GNA

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