In a bid to address the growing concern over mental health challenges, Jirapa Municipal Mental Health Officer, Mr. Dienfaa Gervase, on the Jirapa FM Yiriyele program has advised the youth against drug and substance abuse.

Mr. Gervase spoke on the critical role substance abuse plays in exacerbating mental health issues within the municipality. During the thought-provoking interview with host Eto’ O Gh, he urged the younger generation to desist from drugs such as tramadol use and excessive alcohol consumption, highlighting them as significant contributing factors to the alarming rise in mental health challenges, suicides, and attempted suicides.

“Excessive alcoholism, drugs and substance abuse contributes to mental health challenges including suicide, attacking and causing harm to others, etc.  “Kodanaao”, tramadol, and alcohol is very common among the youth these days. Tramadol is meant for severe pain and must be prescribed by doctors. Snuth is also common; people use snuth to enable them farm more, but snuff is very addictive and many people who test it continue to increase the dosage. I am appealing to the youth stop abusing drugs and substance”.

As the interview delved deeper into the complexities of mental health, Mr. Gervase highlighted that many young individuals turn to drugs as a means of escaping from the pressures of life, to be happy or accomplish a heavy task but unaware of the damaging consequences on their mental well-being.

He highlighted the need for people to be aware that mental health challenges are not isolated incidents but that they often stem from underlying issues, one of which is substance abuse. He shared staggering statistics on attempted suicide in the Municipality “though we recorded only one case of attempted suicide from one of our sub districts early this year, last year by this time, we recorded a total of 13 attempted suicide cases”.

Mr. Gervase concluded the program by highlighting early warning of suicide “before I conclude let me say that there are certain statements when you hear someone say, you need to quickly refer the person to us or draw one attention. Someone could tell you that the world is no more conducive to live in, such people in the mid of friends or family could say they will travel, etc. such statements are very dangerous and need to be prompt further to know where exactly the individual who said it wants to travel to. There are some who also all of a sudden begin to share their properties among their family members. Such people need to be watch out because indirectly such people are making their wills like that. Many of such people after distributing and sharing their properties next action is to kill themselves”.

Yiriyele program which reached thousands of listeners across the Upper West Region, provided a platform to engage stakeholders in development challenges affecting the municipality. With the Jirapa FM platform continuing to amplify critical messages like Mr. Gervase’s, the hope is that this collective effort will contribute to the dismantling of barriers that prevent individuals from seeking help and ultimately lead to a decrease in mental health challenges and suicides in and beyond the municipality.


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