Decriminalizing attempted suicide in Ghana – Experts


Ghana’s Mental Health Authority (MHA) on Monday called for decriminalizing attempted suicide amid increasing youth and student suicides.

Suicide has of late become the most common cause of death among students in Ghana’s tertiary institutions. Six cases have been recorded in the country in the last three weeks.

In a statement issued in Accra, the MHA said tackling the issue of suicide among the youth should be holistically looked at as a national agenda, calling on lawmakers to decriminalize attempted suicide in the statutes.

“Attempted suicide is not a criminal issue. Neither is it a moral issue or spiritual problem. It is simply a cry for help to resolve psychosocial issues and therefore more appropriately is a medical problem,” the statement said.

“Decriminalizing attempted suicide will give the youth and people who have suicidal thoughts an opportunity to talk about what they feel without having to look over their shoulders or having to think they will be prosecuted should they talk about their suicide tendencies,” it said.

The authority also called upon law makers to pass the legislative instrument to the Mental Health Act to enable it to institute its programs of massive public education and mental health promotion.

Three students from Ghana’s state-funded universities were among the latest suicide cases of female students.

Another suicide involving a Junior High School (JSS) student was also reported in the Eastern Region over the weekend, raising a lot of concerns among parents and school authorities. Enditem

Source: Alex Osei-Boateng, Xinhua/

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