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Dr Gordon Donnir, the Head of the Department of Psychiatry Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), has expressed concern about the high rate of suicide and called for a National Policy directive on the Suicidal Preventive plan.
He said such a plan was very important for mental health delivery but it was beyond the means of the health facilities.
“We need a national policy that would bring uniformity across the country and to ensure that programmes and policies are implemented efficiently at both the national, regional and community levels to help in tracking and addressing the issue.
The Senior Specialist Psychiatrist was speaking at a workshop “on the Edinburg Per-Natal Depression Screening Toolkits” for Midwives, Community Psychiatrist Nurses and Community Health Nurses organized by Basic Needs Ghana in Bolgatanga.
The event was aimed at empowering the health workers to use the Edinburg Pre-Natal Depression Screening Toolkits which had been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in integrating mental health care into maternal healthcare delivery.
Dr Donnir said most suicidal tendencies were associated with depression which is a mental disorder that could also be a predisposing factor to developing many diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
“In depression the victim often loses the ability to control the mood which is equal to energy loss. Depression for more than two weeks could lead to major health complications and that confirms the urgency for the policy makers and the government to pay special attention to the mental health sector”, he said.
Dr Donnir said apart from victims of depression becoming addicted to drugs and other alcoholic beverages, they could also become dependent and vulnerable.
To mitigate the problem there is the need for a radical national policy, he said, and called on policy makers and the government to initiate the process to help tackle the phenomenon.
Dr Donnir said apart from engaging the community health nurses, psychiatrists and midwives in handling mental illness, there is the need to include into the suicidal preventive plan, relatives and caregivers of mental ill patients.
He urged relatives and care givers of mental ill patients not to allow victims of depression to sleep alone in their rooms and also ensure that they are kept away from harmful tools from them since that could make it easy for some to commit suicide.