Briphildon Foundation calls for collective efforts in suicide prevention
The Briphildon Foundation, a non-governmental organization focused on humanitarian efforts, has issued a call for widespread engagement, awareness-raising, and action to prevent and address suicide.
In a statement released on Sunday, September 10, 2023, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) under the theme "Creating hope through action," Bright Philip Donkor, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Briphildon Foundation, emphasized the urgency of combatting the stigma surrounding suicide and the necessity for proactive measures to avert it. The statement urged individuals, communities, and healthcare authorities to collaborate in spreading awareness and offering support to those grappling with mental health difficulties.
The statement included a plea to health authorities to establish an efficient mental health care delivery system that is easily accessible, in order to encourage people to seek the assistance they require.
The Briphildon Foundation underscored that suicide is not the only recourse in the face of life's challenges and implored everyone to recognize the inherent value of each life. The Foundation believes that through collective action, a future can be fashioned where no one feels isolated or without assistance when contending with mental health issues.
Bright Philip Donkor affirmed in the statement his organization's dedication to taking concrete steps toward achieving this objective through a variety of initiatives and strategies, including seminars, summits, and awareness campaigns aimed at educating individuals about the indicators of mental distress, depression, and suicidal tendencies. He emphasized that this endeavor would be made feasible through collaborations with pertinent stakeholders to construct a comprehensive support and enlightenment network for individuals.
The statement acknowledged the multifaceted nature of suicide, attributing it to a range of factors such as neglect, marginalization, poverty, and experiences of disadvantage. It highlighted the imperative to grasp the role these elements play in matters of suicide, as this understanding is pivotal for formulating effective prevention and support strategies. For instance, the Foundation cited a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2021, which revealed that approximately 700,000 people worldwide die by suicide each year. While suicide is a global issue impacting all nations, WHO estimates that 77 percent of these cases occur in low and middle-income countries.
The statement cited a 2020 report by WHO, indicating an average of 1,993 suicide cases annually in Ghana. It also noted that alongside completed suicides, attempted suicide is a significant concern, with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) estimating 2,781 suicide attempts between 2018 and 2021.
According to statistics from Ghana's Mental Health Authority (MHA), in 2018, there were 797 reported suicide attempts, increasing to 880 in 2019 and 902 in 2021. Additionally, the number of reported suicides rose from 69 in 2020 to 86 in 2021. The statement acknowledged that many cases go unreported due to stigma, fear of community backlash, and legal repercussions.
The Foundation further recognized the positive step taken by the Parliament of Ghana in March 2023 when they successfully decriminalized suicide. It also urged individuals experiencing any mental health crisis to reach out for psychosocial support through the toll-free number provided by the Ghana Mental Health Authority (MHA): 0800678678.