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Samira Bawumia Campaigns Against Suicide   
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Samira Bawumia, wife of the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Mawumia, has called for greater social support for families whose relatives have passed through suicide.

The second lady stated that losing a child through suicide is not only brutal but traumatic.

“I empathise with the mothers who go through such horrifying emotional stress as they see, hear and read of their children completing their suicide actions,” she said.

Speaking at the launch of the World Family Doctor Day on the theme: ‘Depression and Suicide- The Role of The Family Physician’, Mrs Bawumia urged Ghanaians to take up the charge in fighting depression and suicide.

“We must engage one another, we must be embracing of one another in times of need and joy, we must keep an eye on one another and draw attention on an unusual behaviour, we must help parents and families who go through this problem above all we must all stand side by side to prevent future occurrence of suicide,” she charged.

Touching on the important role family physicians play, the second lady mentioned that they manage to, a broader extent, not only individuals but also the family in its entirety.

“It is my belief that if our healthcare delivery system is to improve and become much more impactful, then we need to train more family doctors as their impact transcends the individual to generation,” she added.

Dr Pinaman Appau, Director of Accra Psychiatric Hospital (APH), addressing the audience as the chairperson, disclosed that the World Health Organisation estimates about 800,000 global deaths due to suicide annually.

“That is one death per 40 seconds, which is more than deaths due to malaria, breast cancer, etc,” she explained.

Again, Dr Pinaman Appau stressed the critical role family physicians play in recognising clients in distress and intervene before they feel so trapped and hopeless.

“It has been said over and over again that for any individual who commits suicide, it is a call for help that was not heeded to… the irony is that healthcare professionals are most likely encounter these people during the time they contemplate whether to live or to not,” she said.

The APH director explained that the situation puts family physicians in a pole position to identify various mental health conditions in the numerous clients they see.

Dr Gordon Amoh, a family physician, stated that the launch of the celebration is not going to be a one off thing as plans are in place to sustain education campaign throughout the year to increase awareness of depression as a major risk factor for suicide.

He, however, called for a comprehensive approach involving all sectors and levels of society in the identification and management of patients with depression and suicide ideation.

“I cannot stress enough on the call for government to liaise with the mental health authority and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for speedy integration of medication for mental illness onto the National Health Insurance Scheme,” he added.
Source: Daily Guide

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