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06.10.2008 News

Sucide Among Aged High — Research Reveals


A research carried out in the middle belt of rural Ghana showed that suicidal intention among the elderly is high.

However, attempts to commit suicide was low due to the stigma attached to it.

Suicide ideation is the intention or wish to die, and the mental formulations and strategies to accomplish it.

Mr Bright Akpalu, a research officer at the Kintampo Health Research Centre, who made this known at the 8th Annual General and Scientific Meeting of the Indepth Network in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, said the study was done in the Kintampo North and South districts among 400 elderly people. The age range was between 65 and 102 years.

The suicidal ideation prevalence rate in the districts was 4.2 per cent. the study was to conduct an exploratory survey of suicidal ideation among the study population and also find out the risk and protective factors that exist.

He said if people's economic and social circumstances were not the best or were tired with life, the tendency for them to have suicidal thoughts were high.

Mr Akpalu said elderly people who developed psychological, depression, physical disability, sexual problems and had a gloomy perception of the future also had suicide ideas.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks suicide among the 10 highest causes of death in the world and elderly people, 65 years and above, commit suicide more than any other age group.

Mr Apkalu said although suicidal thoughts were high, the attempts were low among the study population because religion and culture frowned on it citing for intance because pre-burial activities for people who committed suicide in some communities were embarrassing, most people would not attempt suicide.

To help offset the problem, he advocated that good care ought to be taken of the aged by their families and they should not under any circumstance be neglected.

He also advocated relief measures to be put in place for the aged, especially those who have no one to take care of them to enable them live meaningful lives.

Story by Rebecca Kwei