Ghana decriminalizes attempted suicide

Ghana’s Parliament has approved amendments to the Criminal Offenses Act of 1960, which previously made attempted suicide a criminal offence.

As per the recent changes, individuals who attempt to take their own life will now be regarded as needing mental health support rather than facing imprisonment under the law.

Should the President give his assent, the bill would guarantee that individuals who survive attempted suicide are no longer in danger of being arrested, charged, and punished, but rather would have access to medical and psychological assistance.

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Health experts in Ghana have been pushing for this amendment, citing the need for medical assistance for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

However, some lawmakers had previously opposed the move to decriminalize attempted suicide, with the former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, stating in 2019 that it should be punished to discourage such behaviour.

With over 1,500 cases of suicide reported annually across Ghana, the decision to view attempted suicide as a mental health issue has been welcomed by many.