Sections of the Criminal Offenses Act of 1960 has been amended by the Ghana’s Parliament effectually decriminalizing attempt to commit suicide
This amendment seeks not to prosecute individuals who attempt to take their own lives thus no longer a jailable offence.
The amendment in Parliament on Tuesday, March 28, has been embraced by majority Ghanaians and mental health professionals alike who in the past had opined that individuals who attempt such a heinous act rather need help rather than imprisonment.
Some parliamentarians opposed this amendment but supported the jail and punishment for persons who attempt to commit suicide, among them is the former Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu who remarked in favour of criminalizing the act in 2019 in a parliamentary discourse.
The Tamale South MP described the act as unacceptable and that it must be punishable.
You do not want to think that when you have depression and distress, the ultimate thing is that you go and take your life since you cannot recover your life back, he said
Th Mental Health Authority CEO, Prof Akwesi Osei earlier revealed that efforts were underway to have suicide decriminalised, saying it is a medical condition that needs health support rather than imprisonment.
I am trying harder not to say ‘people who wanted to commit suicide’ – it’s a language we want to move away from. So, don’t say ‘somebody who committed suicide’ because that criminalises the offence.
We are trying to get us to understand that attempted suicide is not a crime, even though we don’t encourage it. It is [rather] a condition that requires support, largely mental illness.
So, in all our discourses, let’s move away from ‘committed suicide’ to say ‘take his/her life by suicide’ or ‘die by suicide’, he stated.
Facts About Suicide in Ghana
1,500 cases of suicide are reported nationwide every year.
Individuals who miraculously survived suicide emotionally recounted the experience and happily welcomed the news stressing that no one really intends to end their lives and that, it is appropriate to help persons going through challenges that may compel them to commit suicide rather than to imprison them.