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Parliament Decriminalises Attempted Suicide

The Parliament of Ghana has finally decriminalised attempted suicide.


This means that persons who fail at committing suicide will no longer be subjected to three years’ imprisonment.


Section 57 of the Criminal Offenses Act of 1960 clauses 1 and 2 of the constitution were amended by the House on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, after years of advocacy.


Until its amendment, the clauses stated that A person who abets the commission of a suicide commits a first-degree felony whether or not the suicide is actually committed.


“A person who attempts to commit suicide commits a misdemeanour.”


This was opposed by the World Mental Health Forum who in July 2021 launched 40 days national campaign to compel the Parliament to amend the Act.


Research has established that 1,500 suicide cases are reported annually, and in each reported case of suicide are four unreported cases, summing the number of unreported cases to almost 6000 yearly.


Common means of suicide worldwide are pesticide self-poisoning, hanging and firearm use, it’s been established.


Whereas it was argued that criminalising suicide deters others from engaging in it, mental health practitioners say, it rather hampers victims from seeking treatment for their suicide tendencies.


According to the World Mental Health Forum, suicide is a matter of public health not judicial.


“It is a common occurrence that people with suicidal behaviours are suffering from mental illness”, it holds


It noted that retrospective research found that 93% of persons who attempted suicide were having mental disorders when undertaking the act.


Under the amendment, any person who attempts suicide will be considered as having a mental health issue requiring assistance by law.




Source: Fuseini

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