Mr. Pious Tay, the Mental Health Coordinator for the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate, has cautioned the media against fueling suicidal ideas in the public through their contents.
Mr. Tay expressed worry at some of the contents being shown on television and aired on radio as they created a state of hopelessness, which often ends in suicide as the last resort.
He said this in an engagement with the Ghana News Agency on its “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility” platform.
The Tema Metro Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Services has joined forces with the Ghana News Agency to embark on a month of relentless public advocacy to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day always observed on September 10th, every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world.
Mr. Tay said some also allowed their platforms to be used by the public to promote suicide actions among people, stating, for instance, that because they were not vigilant to monitor comments under their publications, unscrupulous persons were posting suicide messages in the comment sections.
He further said reportage on suicides, if done vividly, could lead to copycat suicides among the population as it emboldened those with suicide tendencies and showed them how to take their lives.
The Mental Health Coordinator also appealed to the media to use their platforms to advocate and educate the public against suicides, the places people could get help, and what to do to help others who were suicidal.
He also called on the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission, as well as other regulatory bodies, to ensure that media houses followed their ethics and the sanctions given to ensure that their programmes and contents did not promote suicide and other unacceptable issues.
Mr. Tay also advised young people to place a premium on human relations rather than social technologies.
He explained that the quality of a person’s life can only be best shaped by cultivating a positive family atmosphere.
Mr. Tay revealed that children, who are raised as timid or have melancholy characters, could be addicted to social media, seeking answers to their challenges because their parents instilled fear in them.
Families, who spend time together develop a communication-friendly climate, where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions and feelings to make it easier for families to address and resolve concerns.
Dr. Sally Quartey, Tema Metro Health Director, urged the youth to create good bonds with family members, parent figures, counsellors, and teachers and share their perils with them instead of resorting to machines.
He said the age of technology is supposed to be an advantage, but many young people, especially in basic and senior high schools, experience suicidal ideations because of their experiences depending on their orientation of life, which is mostly influenced by social media technologies.
Technology has an adverse effect on people’s emotions, especially young people who clutch to it for answers to their problems.
This has a detrimental effect on the quality of interpersonal interactions.
“Children are more likely to speak up and be honest about their feelings when adults are open-minded, empathetic, and non-judgmental, in their opinion, because the family system is the first identification of every human,” Dr Quartey stated.