A Qualitative Study of Attitudes toward Suicide and Suicide Prevention among Psychology Students in Ghana

Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
OMEGA--Journal of Death and Dying (Impact Factor: 0.44). 01/2010; 62(2):169-86. DOI: 10.2190/OM.62.2.e
Source: PubMed


The purpose of the present study was to investigate attitudes toward suicide and suicide prevention among psychology students in Ghana by means of a qualitative analysis of open-ended questions about causes of suicide and how suicide best can be prevented. The students mainly saw the causes as intra-personal and almost all of them believed that suicide can be prevented. The results indicated a huge impact of religion on the attitudes toward suicide as well as some lack of distinction between their religious and professional roles and responsibilities.

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    • "This code, thus, criminalizes attempted suicide in Ghana. Hence, individuals who attempt suicide are subject to arrest and prosecution, and are made to face criminal penalties upon conviction (Adinkrah, 2013; Kahn & Lester, 2013; Knizek, Akotia, & Hjelmeland, 2011; Osafo et al., 2011a). Therefore, like all other forms of crime, suicide is newsworthy (Pirkis, 2009; Romer, Jamieson, & Jamieson, 2006; Sisask & Värnik, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Adolescent suicide is now a major health concern for many countries. However, there is paucity of systematic studies and lack of official statistics on adolescent suicide in Ghana. Mass media coverage of adolescent suicide (even though crude), at least, may reflect the reality of the phenomenon. With an ecological orientation, this study used qualitative content analysis to analyse the pattern of 44 media reports of adolescent suicide in Ghana from January 2001 through September 2014. Results showed that hanging was the dominant method used. The behaviour usually takes place within or near the adolescent's home environment. The act was often attributed to precursors within the microsystem (family and school) of the deceased. This study serves a seminal function for future empirical studies aimed at deeper examination of the phenomenon in order to inform prevention programmes.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being
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    • "This is because the fear of social stigma could restrain families and other people from reporting a suicidal person to the police as well as giving a true verdict of the cause of death. Suicide is legally criminalized in Ghana, and the negative attitudes towards the act are underpinned by strong religious and societal values (Adinkrah, 2010; Knizek, Akotia & Hjelmeland, 2010; Osafo, Knizek, Akotia & Hjelmeland, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: One way of furthering our understanding of suicidal behaviour is to examine people's attitudes towards it and how they conceive the act. The aim of this study was to understand how lay persons conceive the impact of suicide on others and how that influences their attitudes towards suicide; and discuss the implications for suicide prevention in Ghana. This is a qualitative study, using a semi-structured interview guide to investigate the attitudes and views of 27 lay persons from urban and rural settings in Ghana. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the data. Findings showed that the perceived breach of interrelatedness between people due to suicidal behaviour influenced the informants' view of suicide as representing a social injury. Such view of suicide influenced the negative attitudes the informants expressed towards the act. The negative attitudes towards suicide in Ghana are cast in consequential terms. Thus, suicide is an immoral act because it socially affects others negatively. The sense of community within the African ethos and The Moral Causal Ontology for Suffering are theoretical postulations that are used to offer some explanations of the findings in this study.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being
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    ABSTRACT: One way of preventing suicide has been increasing awareness among health care professionals of their own attitudes and taboos toward suicide and its prevention. The purpose of this study was to understand the attitudes of health professionals toward suicidal behavior and its prevention in Ghana. A total of 17 informants (9 clinical psychologists and 8 emergency ward nurses) in an urban center were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyze the data. We found that the attitudes of these health workers toward suicide and suicide prevention seemed to be transiting between morality and mental health. The psychologists generally saw suicide as a mental health issue, emphasized a caring and empathic view of suicidal persons and approached suicide prevention from a health-service point of view. Mental health education and improvements in primary health care were reported as practical approaches toward suicide prevention. The nurses on the other hand, held a moralistic attitude toward suicide as a crime, viewed suicide persons as blameworthy and approached suicide prevention from a proscriptive perspective. Informal approaches such as talking to people, strengthening the legal code against suicide and threatening suicidal persons with the religious consequences of the act were also indicated as practical approaches to suicide prevention. Educational level, clinical experience with suicidal persons, and religious values, are discussed as influencing the differences in attitudes toward suicide and suicide prevention between psychologists and nurses. Health workers in Ghana need training in suicidology to improve both knowledge and skills relevant for suicide prevention.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · International journal of nursing studies
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