The Mental Health Authority is pushing for the decriminalization of suicide in Ghana.
The World Health Organization has revealed that a person dies every 40 seconds from suicide worldwide.
In Ghana, The Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) indicates that a person who plans to commit suicide commits a first-degree felony whether or not the suicide was successful.
This law, according to the Authority rather encourages such persons to take every measure not to fail in their acts and also discourages suicidal persons from reporting suicidal crisis early enough for help.
But launching the 2020 World Mental Health Week Celebration, Board Chair for the Mental Health Authority, Estelle Appiah, said it is time Ghana joins other countries to decriminalize suicide.
“If they survive the attempt, what happens? They are treated as criminals. We need rather to be doing away with the criminal aspect of attempted suicide and make sure that the people who have suicidal tendencies receive the healthcare that they require,” she said.
“The Mental Health Authority is pushing for the decriminalization of suicide and has been calling for laws that criminalizes suicide should be repealed,” she added.
In 2015, it was reported that Ghana records 1,500 suicide cases annually, mostly as a result of depression.
According to fact sheets of the WHO, nearly 800,000 people commit suicide every year, and that, prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
Suicide was thus the second leading cause of death among the age range of 15 and 29 in 2015 while 78 percent of global suicides occur in low and middle-income countries.