A new report by the Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) has revealed that three out of every ten junior high students in the country have attempted suicide in the past 12 months.
The survey also shows, among other findings, that two out of every ten senior high school students also attempted suicide in the same period.
These findings were contained in a statement signed by the public relations officer of the GPA, Joy Aima Debrah, issued on the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day.
“School and family-related factors such as bullying, poor academic performance, substance use, parental neglect, physical and sexual abuse and financial constraints have been implicated in many adolescent suicides, alongside (cyber) bullying, romantic relationship crises and issues related to shame and dishonour,” the statement said.
“For such adolescents, lack of safe outlets for ventilating their concerns leads them to risky behaviours such as unsafe sexual choices, substance use, self-cutting, self-poisoning, which all pose grave risks to their lives,” the statement said.
Love of family
The GPA however says a recent study shows that parental warmth and understanding and familial social support act as key protective factors against the onset of suicidal behaviour among adolescents and young people.
World Suicide Prevention Day, which is marked on 10 September every year, seeks to create awareness of the reality of suicide and the devastation it leaves for all.
Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) for 2012 show that more than 800,000 people commit suicide annually. This equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.
This year’s celebration, which is on the theme “Working together to prevent suicide”, seeks to rally stakeholders to play their part to address the problem.
It is against this backdrop that the Ghana Psychological Association is calling for a concerted effort in tackling the problem.
The GPA wants the government to take the lead by expunging the code that criminalises suicide attempts under the law.
It believes that putting in place strategic safety nets could help reduce incidence of suicide in Ghana.