Story: Reuben Sackey
Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority Ghana, Dr. Akwasi Osei has celebrated the decriminalisation of attempted suicide by Parliament.
Dr. Osei said the repeal is a win for the mental health advocacy community in Ghana and further appealed that much should be done to help persons who attempt to take their lives.
He said it was humiliating that Ghana had a law criminalising attempted suicide decades after the law had been repealed in other countries, especially from the colonial masters that passed it down to Ghana.
He said the Mental Health Authority was “very elated because this is something we have really been considering, and it feels like a long battle that has finally been won
Speaking to the media, Dr. Osei intimated that the decriminalisation of such a law around the world has proven fruitful and saved many lives.
“People argued that if the law was repealed, it will encourage people to take their own lives which isn’t the case because decriminalising the act around the world has proven helpful and provided help to persons who need it.”
He added that to overcome the lawmakers that opposed the amendment of the Criminal Offences Act of 1960, the Mental Health Authority engaged such legislators, and they saw the need to amend the Act.
“We targeted those who opposed the decriminalisation and explained to them, and they understood the need to repeal the law, and so they all got converted and accepted that attempted suicide is actually a mental illness rather than a crime.”
Parliament on Tuesday, March 28 voted to amend sections of the Criminal Offences Act of 1960, which criminalised attempted suicide.