The Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) is warning of an increase in suicidal cases amongst students if immediate steps are not taken to address their socio–psychological needs.
The Association’s comments come on the back of recent reports of suicides particularly that of a final year student of Miracle Preparatory School, Leticia Kyere Pinaman allegedly committing suicide.
In an interview on Campus Exclusive, Member of the Ghana Psychological Association, Dr. Ernest Darkwah said that the Association was “saddened but not surprised” about the incident as it had hitherto noted through research that “almost about one out of every four senior high school student is contemplating or has contemplated suicide or self-harm behavior”.
He berated various stakeholders in the educational sector including the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service for its failure to implement measures that will “stall the oncoming storm” of suicidal cases in schools.
“We know that a lot of the suicides that are happening in the country…if we had a national concerted effort to try to tackle mental health problems in this country, we would be able to reduce the occurrences of suicides and self-harm behavior by a large proportion. Unfortunately we are not seeing that motivation by all stakeholders including the government, the Ministry of Education, Ghana education service….people that are in charge of young people – we are not seeing that much effort as compared to the effort that these institutions give to other issues that has to do with school” he lamented.
Dr. Ernest Darkwah further appealed to relevant stakeholders in the educational sector to address the menace of suicides in schools, warning that if measures are not put in place to curb the development the could be a potential escalation of suicidal cases.
“We at the GPA, we can only do our best but we also need to work in collaboration with state authorities before we can attend to this issue. In fact when you look at the global trends that is going on right now, right after Covid or the nations that are getting to the end stage of Covid we are seeing a rise in self-harm behavior especially among adolescents and young people. You will hear it on the BBC that England and other countries that are more advanced are struggling to come to terms with why the rise and so we can only predict that if we don’t begin to act now we may hear worse than what we are hearing” he warned.
Meanwhile the Ghana Education Service (GES) has stated that it will be embarking on a retraining programme for personnel within the guidance and counseling units of various schools across the country to equip them with adequate skills to be able to effectively address the socio – psychological needs of students in their respective schools.