A team from Gub-Katimali society, a Tamale based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) together with the Northern Regional Health Alliance of Mental Health and Development, have called on the Gbewaa and Mion palaces to get the chiefs and elders appreciate issues on suicide prevention.
The team highlighted on suicide prevention, signs of mental disorders and mental health development to the Mion Lana and elders who received them in the absence of the Ya-Na, the Overlord of Dagbon.
The visit was part of world mental health day celebration, which was celebrated earlier this year on the theme: “Suicide Prevention”.
Mr Alhassan Nindo Ibrahim, a Community Mental Health Officer at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, advised against associating suicide to witchcraft and said people who talked of death being better than life should be considered as potential suicide contemplators and refer them to hospitals for intervention, because such people might have sought help, but they could be ignored which eventually might lead them to commit suicide.
Sheik Yakubu Abdul Karim, the Executive Director of Gub-Katimali Society described mental health as crucial aspect of health, which received less attention in the country thereby making it rampant.
He appealed to the chiefs and elders to use their powers to arrange for psychiatrists and drugs for the Northern Region and educate their subjects on suicide prevention, taking Keen interest in people who often talk about committing suicide.
Mr Inusah Iddrisu, the Senior Public Education Officer at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Tamale, said discrimination and violation of human rights were major causes of suicide.
He said employers had no right to terminate appointment of an employee who, in the course of working developed any form of mental health disorder, adding that landlords too had no right to eject a tenant who developed mental illness, because they have rights that were protected by law.
Alhaji Abdul Razak Saani, the Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), said mental health illness was an everyday issue and should be discussed daily in order to make it part of society for routine discussions.
He stressed that, discussing mental health issues would make it fresh at all times, and mobilise support for people with mental health illnesses.
Mion Lana Alhaji Abdulai Mahamadu, the Chief of Mion, expressed gratitude to the team for the education on the topic and described it as essential and worth giving attention to, and promised to support to prevent suicide on the Dagbon Kingdom.