The Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) says it is high time the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, considered introducing mental health education and aspects of psychology at the basic and secondary levels.
Dr Collins Badu Agyemang, National President, GPA, said that would help to reconstruct the minds of the youth and replace irrational thoughts with realistic thoughts and solutions.
Dr Badu Agyemang said this, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Monday in Accra, in a reaction to the alleged murder of a 10-year-old boy at Kasoa in the Central Region by two suspected teenage boys.
“It is a very sad situation we are hearing as a country. I must say it is not just about the parent who might have lost a loved one, a 10-year-old, it is about all of us, our safety as a country. In fact, to think of a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old actually planning and executing such a heinous act is very unfortunate. It is uncalled for and it baffles minds,” he stated.
“Indeed, gone are the days, when you hear these things, you will be thinking of a real case of matured greedy ones actually trying to do this. But now young adolescents are now beginning to take over what usually would have been a real case of some matured greedy ones.”
Dr Badu Agyemang said there was the need to establish whether the two juveniles were of sound mind.
“We need to be sure whether their mental health state is, okay. Is it within the normalcy? If we are able to establish that it is okay, then we have a number of questions that we need to ask and then try to understand,” he said.
Dr Badu Agyemang said because it was a criminal act, certainly the law would have to take its course to address the matter with the suspects.
He said there was the need for Ghanaians to look at the issue of how best to raise children.
“Now if you look at parental guidance, it looks as if our social framework is gradually breaking down, and I am saying this simply because most parents are failing to be responsible, too afraid to be responsible,” he said.
Dr Badu Agyeman stated that teachers and instructors, who ordinarily, students/young adolescents spent a lot of time with because they go to school were also afraid to be responsible.
He said young adolescents who were coming up were also happier with their independent thinking and their independent state; adding that “so, if you look at our social structure, it looks as if they are breaking down.”
Dr Badu Agyemang urged parents to be responsible in raising their children and to nurture them in the fear of God.
He said through social learning in psychology, children and young adults continued to observe relevant things, and people (celebrities) Ghanaians endorsed, which could sometimes also impact negatively on them, if the one they were trying to emulate had some wrong attitudes.
He cited movies and social media as some of the platforms through which children and young adults would copy bad behaviour.
Dr Badu Agyeman said it was possible that the alleged suspects in the Kasoa murder might have learnt how to commit the crime through social media or movies.
He noted that young adults were in a haste to live a lifestyle like celebrities they had been watching in movie and urged television stations to be circumspect in the kind of movies they aired.