One hundred and eight police personnel were diagnosed with different types of mental health-related conditions in 2018 as a result of stress from work, a clinical psychologist at the Police Hospital has said.
Four persons out of the number committed suicide by either shooting themselves with their official rifles or by hanging.
The Clinical Psychologist, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Foster Nanewortor, disclosed this at a health sensitisation workshop organised by the Accra Regional Police Command for the police personnel.
The workshop was on the theme: “Building A Resilient Healthy Lifestyle For Effective Policing.”
It was also to educate the personnel on the need to manage stress related to their line of duty and social life to avoid negative impacts.
Mr Nanewortor said there were also three attempted suicide cases by police personnel during the same period.
“Over the few years, we have experienced trends of suicide among officers and this is due to the nature of our work which is very stressful,” he said.
He said 60 per cent of the 108 cases of mental health-related problems resorted to the consumption of alcohol as a way of managing their stress.
Alcoholism, he emphasised, was not the solution to relieving stress.
“There are things we can do to minimise stress,” he said, adding that “alcohol usage was one of the negative copping mechanism”.
A police officer who is stressed, Mr Nanewortor pointed out, posed a risk to his or her personal safety and the safety of the public.
Mr Nanewortor said more mental health professionals and clinical psychologists should be engaged to provide regular services for police personnel.
“Currently I am the only active clinical psychologist who is practising in the service,” he said.
He advised policemen and women to take time off work and engage in physical exercises that helped the body to produce anti-stress hormones that could help them stay fit.
The Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional?Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police ( DSP)?Mrs Effia Tenge, said the workshop was part of activities under the police transformation agenda which also focused on the welfare and career development of personnel.
The agenda, according to her, would be attainable if police officers were mentally and physically sound.