Drowning accident: Gender Minister leads team of psychologists to Apam

The Gender Minister in a group photograph with some of psychologists

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection has led a team of mental health professionals to Apam to provide counselling services for families who lost their children in the drowning incident.

The team, made up of psychologists from the Mental Health Authority and the Association of Psychologists, will stay in the community for a number of days to offer psychological support.

Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo commiserated with the families of the victims and pledged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the government’s support to the community as they attempt to put their lives back together after the traumatizing incident.

At a short ceremony in Apam to introduce the health professionals on Sunday, the Gender Minister stated that the government will continue to provide the necessary support to the community to deal with the aftermath of the accident.

Apam, the district capital of the Gomoa West District in the Central Region was on 7th March 2021 thrown into a state of mourning when about 20 teenagers got drowned in the sea.

Thirteen bodies were retrieved as of March 11, comprising two girls and 11 boys. Two males, aged 14 and 15, were however rescued. The dead have since been buried.

The Gender Minister’s visit brings to two, the government delegations that have been to Apam since the accident.

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Minister for Fisheries, Hawa Koomson and the Central Region Minister, Justina Marigold Assan represented the government during the funeral.

A former Deputy Majority leader in Parliament, Hon. Adwoa Safo acknowledged the difficulties that the families and the entire community would be going through.

She promised that the team of psychologists would stay in the town to offer the necessary psychological evaluation and support to the affected families.

National President of the Ghana Psychological Association, Dr. Collins Badu Agyeman, in his address indicated that offering psychological support is a necessary tool for victims of disasters.

He stated that managing disasters in Ghana has not been the best because the psychological aspects are often neglected.

He argued that victims of disasters may be offered food but may not be able to eat or blankets but may not be able to sleep hence the need to consider their psychological wellbeing.

He appealed to the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) to therefore include psychologists as part of their team when visiting disaster victims and communities.

He disclosed that for the next few weeks about 30 mental health professionals of different categories will visit Apam to interact and counsel not only the families but also NADMO coordinators, rescuers, the police and the media.

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He said, “These categories of professionals have helped a lot so they may still be carrying the gory images of the dead in their minds.”

“We, therefore, have to offer them all counselling to ensure they are put in the right frame of mind to continue their lives without being haunted by the incident.”

The team, he said, will work to see how best to integrate the society and ensure the community is able to manage their anxieties.

He assured that the psychologists will continue to keep in touch with the community and the families even after the current program ends.

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