In Ghana, the alarming increase in student suicides has brought immense sorrow to families and communities alike.
To gain a better understanding of this distressing trend, we spoke with five passionate Ghanaian youth who shared their perspectives on why suicide rates have risen among students and proposed actions to address this crisis.
Mental health stigma and societal pressures were identified as significant contributors to the problem.
Young Ghanaian students underscored the need for comprehensive mental health education and support systems within schools.
They also called for increased awareness and resources, including counselling services and helplines, to ensure students receive the help they need.
These insightful voices highlight the pressing need for change in Ghana’s education system. By amplifying their perspectives, we hope to ignite meaningful conversations and drive positive transformations that prioritize the emotional well-being of students.
Matilda Konadu Ansah-Adjaye, KNUST
First of all, maintaining our CWA is a major reason for suicidal thoughts. The feeling of failure after all efforts made to pass an exam can be the cause as well as emotional heartbreaks and sometimes stigmatization from peers.
I believe if school authorities are to reduce the pressure given on students academically and also make the students feel secure and comfortable around counsellors provided by the schools who will make sure no information is leaked outside even anonymously on social media or during lectures, will go a long way to curb the level of suicide.
Cecil Nii Ayikai Tetteh, KNUST
My thoughts on that is, one cannot point out a particular reason as to why these things are happening but I think society is making us embrace being ‘hard hearted’ and not ‘trusting’ anyone so things that could have been solved just by speaking to someone, will be bottled up for long till it’s overwhelming to handle.
So I think to curb this, the peer counselling team on campus must step up their game in making themselves available. I don’t see how they are going to make us feel safe around them but they must find a way to make their services look trusted and reliable else they’ll become redundant.
Also, churches should make a conscious effort to educate their members on things like these: you can speak to someone when you are facing challenges.
Here in KNUST, we have a sheep-shepherd system that needs to be intensified to make sure that the Shepherd knows what his sheep is going through and is devising ways to mitigate or manage the situation.
Emmanuel Nii Abordai Amoo, UEW
I think suicide has become rampant in our various universities because when some students fail their courses, they begin the think they are losers and have disappointed their families. Some people are coming from backgrounds where their loved ones have put so much trust in them and see that they cannot live up to that standard given to them, and those thoughts begin to come in.
For me, the best thing to be done to curb this situation is, encouragement should be given to students at all times especially those who fail some courses. Criticisms can be given but should not break them down but rather encourage them to push harder. They should be checked on through phone calls as well from time to time
Ebenezer Laryea, UG
Suicide is rampant in our universities because of inadequate mental health education. Now, our educational system is in such a way that everything is about books. There aren’t many programs on campus that address the mental needs of students.
The reduction of the time spent in the teaching and learning of our courses also comes to play. Courses that need about 15-20 weeks of teaching are now being completed in about 10-12 weeks. We are also faced with the ban on social gatherings and fun activities.
There should be mental health awareness, trained peer counsellors, seminars/ forums and the counselling unit should be accessible at all times. We also need to check our educational system.
Most students are depressed. They are going through a lot financially, academically, emotionally and psychologically. Also, I think peer pressure: wanting to keep up with colleagues and relationship issues makes life unbearable for some students.
When we organize mental health awareness campaigns, it would give students a sense of belonging. I believe motivational quotes in the form of fliers can be shared all over campus and in hostels. Parents should strive to build a cordial relationship with their children.
By sharing their stories and perspectives, we hope to inspire collective action and catalyze a much-needed shift in Ghana’s approach to mental health.
By Esther Aryee|3xtra.tv|Ghana