Saturday, March 4, 2017

Journalists Should Be Circumspect In Suicide Reporting

3:04:00 PM

Dr. Gordon Donnir, a Psychiatrist, has advised journalists to be more circumspect and go the extra mile to avoid inappropriate reporting of suicide.

He said nobody should be under any illusion about the huge impact that media coverage could have on the suicide rate and the methods.

Dr. Donnir, who is the Head of Psychiatric Department of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), cautioned against the temptation to give such tragedy undue prominence.

This comes on the heels of the shocking reported suicide committed by a student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi, he said being either sensational or providing graphic description of the method was unhelpful and not the way to go.

We need to keep clear from anything that could lead to imitative or copycat behavior.

Dr. Donnir made reference to the findings of a study carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) that showed strong link between media reports and imitative behavior and said that was why the journalist should be careful in their presentation of suicide stories.

He renewed the call to Ghanaians to take suicide threat seriously and act quickly to save anybody making it.
He indicated that there were many out there having fleeting thoughts about killing themselves and that was why nobody should ignore those, who showed signs of suicidal tendencies.

Such people, he noted, tended to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, impulse control problems and in some instances hard drugs and alcohol intoxication.

These conditions, especially depression, was a brain disease, which required prompt medical care to rescue the patient from the state of hopelessness.

People, who are miserable have poor coping mechanisms to deal with life problems and unable to recognize alternatives to solve their problems รข€" they see death as the only option.

He said at the suicide planning stages they would give hints such as confessing to close relatives and associates that they wanted to die, while others became extremely isolated and would not be their normal self.

In the case of children between the ages of 10 and 19, he said, their grades would start to drop, they would throw tantrums and are rebellious.

Some of them would resort to substance abuse to deal with emotional distress and Dr. Donnir said, these clues should prompt people to seek professional support for the sufferer.

By Ghana Leaks Blog

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