Mr Emmanuel Agbodeka, a Senior Staff at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital has called on the Ghana Education Service to establish guidance and counseling centres at all educational institutions to provide timely interventions to students going through crises.
“Organisations must also employ organisational psychologists to prepare employees who by no fault of theirs, have to take on new responsibilities, go through demotions and transfers, as well as employees earmarked for redundancy”, he added.
Mr Agbodeka made the call at the weekend at a programme to mark the celebration of World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisation (WUCWO) organised by the Accra Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women.
Speaking on: “Drug Abuse and Suicide and how they can be Combated”, Mr Agbodeka believed that these professionals must not be stationed only at these institutions, but must be accessible to people who needed such services.
He commended parliament for passing the Mental Health Law, but said a lot more needed to be done in terms of education, human resources attraction and retention, and funding.
He tasked relevant government agencies to train more psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists, and addiction specialists to increase the number of professionals in the field.
“Aside the training, better remuneration, incentive packages and better conditions of service must be provided to attract and retain qualified and competent staff to the field of psychiatry.
The practice of psychiatry is associated with risk of violence and injury to staff; and risk allowance must be provided to take care of the risk staff are exposed to”, he recommended.
Mr Agbodeka noted that criminalising suicide cases was detrimental to tackling the problem effectively, saying it prevented the identification and starting of a tailored-made intervention for people at high risk of suicide.
He said section 57 clause 2 of the 1960 criminal code of Ghana clearly states that suicide (attempted or completed) is a crime.
Mr Agbodeka was of the view that the framers of this law wanted to deter people from opting for suicide, when such people are at their lowest ebb.
“Suicide or attempted suicide is a ‘cry for help’ and people who venture to take that option need our compassion and sympathy, which is a mark of a humane society”.
He said drug abuse and drug addiction were global problems affecting the health of nations, destroying societies, families and individuals and all must be concern to addressing the menace.
He called on government to expose illegal drug dealers to authorities and the uninformed addicts to be treated and rehabilitated at appropriate hospitals and centres.
Reverend Father Emmanuel Obeng Cudjoe, the Spiritual Director, Accra Catholic Women Council, urged catholic women to join the council to network as a family, and organise programmes of national interest.
He dispelled the notion that the Council was set up to collapse the society saying ‘we love our society than the church but the society exists because of the church’.
Mrs Margaret Yeboah, President of the Accra Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, said every five years, the WUCWO sends a theme with subtopics to the Women Councils worldwide to deliberate on and grow in the church as well as help families, country and the world.
She said the theme for this year was “Women, Sowers of Hope”, which emphasised the need to sow seed of hope in homes, workplaces, churches and everywhere they found themselves.