Suicide, often regarded as a desperate whisper of pain, has grown into a resounding echo that reverberates across nations.
The alarming surge in suicide cases forces us to confront an urgent and deeply unsettling question — Why resort to suicide?
Africa is said to have the highest number of suicide cases in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Around 11 people per 100,000 per year die by suicide in the African region, higher than the global average of nine per 100,000 people.
Mental health problems account for 11% of the risk factors associated with suicide.
According to the Mental Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Eastern Region alone recorded 61 suicide cases in the first quarter of 2021.
Across the country, about 1500 suicide cases are reported annually.
Behind the stark statistics lie stories of anguish, vulnerability, and isolation. The rise in suicide incidents serves as a reminder that beneath the social interactions, many individuals wrestle with despair that often remains concealed.
Suicide transcends demographics, affecting celebrities, religious leaders, professionals, and even children.
In a recent interview, Nigerian singer, Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk, revealed how he almost committed suicide after he became bankrupt in 2020.
He said he lost his house and was staying in a hotel but couldn’t afford the hotel bills anymore at some point.
This was when he was taken to court by his former management for allegedly “stealing” a car belonging to the company.
Nollywood legend Chinedu Ikedieze, often known as Aki, also opened up about how he almost committed suicide years ago.
For him, it was because he had just found out he had stunted growth.
The Ghana Report seeks to bring to light the escalating number of suicide cases.
These are stories reported from the beginning of the year till August 2023.
Tricycle Rider Commits Suicide
The beginning of every year is usually occasioned with hope, happiness, and a renewed strength to keep on fighting for a brighter future.
But that wasn’t the case for a 25-year-old commercial tricycle rider.
Nicholas Agyei, popularly known as Panoo, decided to end his life on January 21, 2023.
He was found hanging on a ceiling fan in his room at Atwima Yabi New Site in the Atwima Akwanwoma District of the Ashanti Region.
Reports suggest that he did not leave behind any suicide note.
Farmer Commits Suicide
The 40-year-old farmer identified as Kofi Annan decided to end his life after church service.
He ended it all on Good Friday, April 7, 2023, a day marked by Christians to signify the death of Jesus Christ.
The incident happened at Esaman, a suburb of Elmina in the Central Region.
He hanged himself with a rope in his room.
According to the neighbours of the deceased, Kofi Annan was fond of saying he’ll one day kill himself.
Close sources revealed that he was looking fit when they saw him going to church on Thursday evening [April 6, 2023] and showed no sign that he had any problem.
Man Commits Suicide On Gridco Pylon
On April 9, 2023, a middle-aged man whose identity is still not known was electrocuted after climbing the Gridco/VRA pylons in Saki, in the Nmlitsakpo Electoral area of the Kpone-Katamanso municipality of the Greater Accra Region.
The deceased is said to have committed suicide on Sunday evening around 17:45pm.
Some residents gathered at the place to catch a glimpse of what might have warranted such a gory incident.
The deceased was not known in the community making it difficult for the police to trace and find his identity or relatives.
Eyewitnesses observed that the victim rode on a bicycle to the place and committed the act.
Residents and passersby remained in shock trying to figure out what might have triggered the man to end his life in such a manner.
Man Commits Suicide At Atonsuagya
That same month, a 24-year-old man identified as Malik reportedly took his own life at Atonsuagya, in the Asante Mampong Municipal of the Ashanti Region.
The young man shot himself with a gun, which reportedly belonged to his father on Wednesday, April 26, 2023.
It is believed that Malik placed the gun on a wall and pulled the trigger, with the bullet striking him in the chest.
Malik’s father discovered his son in a pool of blood after hearing the gunshot.
The deceased had interacted with his father after returning from the farm, parked the motorbike, and entered his room.
The father stated that he did not hear from his son again until he heard the gunshot.
It remains unclear what caused the incident, but details that emerged indicated that the deceased was worried about his epileptic condition and had always isolated himself from others.
Father Of Nine Children Commits Suicide
A 45-year-old father of nine children, identified as Kwasi Agyei, committed suicide at Adankwame in the Atwima Nwabiagya North District of the Ashanti Region.
Reports suggest that the deceased had been complaining of economic hardship and his inability to take care of his nine children prior to his death.
He died on May 4, 2023, after drinking a poisonous substance, leaving behind his wife and nine children.
The wife of the deceased, Akosua Asantewaa, said she had just given birth to their ninth child.
Man Commits Suicide At A Cemetery
This young man chose a peculiar location outside the comfort of his home.
He committed suicide at the Akyem Old Tafo cemetery in the Abuakwa North Municipality in the Eastern Region.
The deceased was wearing a pair of blue jeans and trousers and was found hanging on a tree on Thursday, May 18.
Residents were left in shock.
He did not leave behind any suicide note.
Momo Vendor Commits Suicide
A 22-year-old Mobile Money vendor, Abdul Rahman Acquah, committed suicide at Assin Kruwa in the Assin South District of the Central Region.
The deceased left home on June 8, 2023, at about 3 p.m. and was nowhere to be found afterward.
A search party was dispatched to look for him but was unsuccessful.
He was found later hanging on a tree with a copper wiring cable.
Examinations conducted on the body showed no signs of violence.
Initial reports suggest he may have died out of frustration.
A witness disclosed that the deceased had earlier threatened to commit suicide due to a missing GH¢3,500.00 belonging to his business owner, who was on his neck demanding the money and further threatening to get him arrested.
Former Assemblyman For Nogokpo Commits Suicide
The lifeless body of the former Assembly Member for Nogokpo-Ativuta Electoral Area, Christian Kwame Amuzu, left many in shock.
The body of the 60-year-old was found hanging on a rope in his living room in the early hours of Wednesday, June 14, 2023.
Madam Amuzu, the wife of the late Assembly Member, said the deceased did not complain of any issues prior to the incident.
She said, it was the deceased’s routine to drive their children to school each morning, but on that fateful day, the deceased declined the usual routine and instead asked her to take the children to school, giving no reason.
Madam Amuzu said she took the children to school and returned only to find his husband hanging on a rope in their living room.
Farmer Commits Suicide
A 41-year-old farmer, Ebenezer Tettey-Wayo, committed suicide at Tei Nkwanta near Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The victim was found hanging on a rope on July 3, 2023, after some family members broke into his room to search for him.
His reasons for committing suicide are not known.
According to some family members, he was struggling to pay a GH¢600 debt; hence they believe that might have been the cause of his action.
Other reports also suggest the victim might have committed the act because he lost his parents in May of that same year.
He left behind two children.
Indian Man Commits Suicide At Sehwi
A 46-year-old Indian man hanged himself in his room at Sehwi Bekwai-Low Cost, a community within the Bibiani Anhweaso Bekwai municipality of the Western North Region.
The deceased identified as Murni Dan worked as a borehole driller in the area.
A neighbour of the victim, Joseph Asare, revealed that the deceased had a few months ago confided in co-workers about the difficulties he was facing in his personal life.
Murni Dan had shared with his colleagues that his wife, who resides in India, had threatened to divorce him due to his prolonged absence and lack of regular communication.
Despite making efforts to sustain the marriage, the deceased’s attempts to reconcile with his wife seemed to be in vain.
The deceased who found solace in alcohol expressed thoughts of taking his own life.
Residents said they thought it was a mere threat until his lifeless body was discovered hanging in his room.
Teacher Commits Suicide Few Weeks To Marriage Ceremony
A 38-year-old teacher committed suicide at Sekyedumase in the Ejura-Sekyedumase Municipality of the Ashanti Region.
The deceased, Ernest Attah Kyei, was preparing for his wedding which was scheduled for August 20, 2023.
The lifeless body of the Apaaso M/A Basic School headteacher was found hanging in his room.
Sources close to him said he was in trauma after he was recently defrauded to the tune of GH¢7,000.
Man Allegedly Commits Suicide After Slashing Ex-Girlfriend
A 45-year-old man committed suicide at Aburi-Ketase in the Eastern Region after slashing his ex-girlfriend with a machete.
The deceased Bernard Essel Nana Yeboah, a baker, was heartbroken because his girlfriend of two years had left him.
He poisoned himself after inflicting machete wounds on the girlfriend’s forehead, chest and lower part of both hands.
Fortunately, the lady survived but he didn’t.
Fetish Priest Commits Suicide After Shooting Girlfriend
A 55-year-old fetish priest reportedly committed suicide after shooting his girlfriend over sexual intimacy disputes at Ejisu-Juaben in the Ashanti Region.
The incident happened on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at about 9:30 p.m.
The fetish priest, Akwasi Antwi, reportedly used a single-barrel gun to shoot his girlfriend, Ama Attah, at close range.
Close sources disclosed that the couple had been in a relationship for a long time but started having issues recently.
The sources added that Antwi started complaining that his girlfriend was denying him sex; hence, he began suspecting her of cheating on him in the relationship.
On the day of the incident, Antwi reportedly visited Ama’s house with the gun, and as usual, the couple began to argue.
Then Ama told Antwi not to visit her house with a firearm again.
Antwi reportedly left the house only to return after a few minutes while accusing Ama of cheating on him with another man.
He then shot Ama in the rib and fled the scene.
The sound of the gunshot drew the attention of some residents, who attempted to apprehend and disarm Antwi but to no avail.
The fetish priest then fled to a nearby bush, reportedly committing suicide.
The lady survived as well.
Man Commits Suicide By Jumping Into A Well
A 39-year-old man was found dead in a well at Asokore in the New Juaben North Municipality of the Eastern Region.
The victim, identified as Roland Chawey, reportedly committed suicide by jumping into the well on the dawn of Monday, August 28, 2023.
Some residents said Chawey Roland was a known drug addict.
They also added that he fell sick recently and was admitted to St. Joseph Hospital but escaped.
What is the way forward?
Beyond the contact numbers that have been dedicated as support lines for anybody contemplating suicide, the Mental Health Authority, has urged individuals to ensure to;
- Ask someone you are concerned about if they’re thinking about suicide. Studies show that asking someone if they are having thoughts of suicide does not increase the likelihood of a complete suicide nor does it increase suicidal thoughts.
- Be there for them. This could be by phone or in person.
- Keep them safe. Reduce access to lethal means for those at risk.
- Help them connect with ongoing support.
- Follow up. Give them a call or visit. Send a text or an email to let them know that you are still present.
Parliament decriminalises attempted suicide
Parliament, on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, amended the sections of the Criminal Offenses Act of 1960, which criminalised attempted suicide.
According to the new law, any person who attempts to take his own life will be considered to have a mental health problem requiring medical assistance.