Dr. Akwasi Osei says the long fight to decriminalize suicide attempts has finally been successful.
Dr. Akwasi Osei, the chief executive officer of the Mental Health Authority Ghana, has praised Parliament for decriminalizing suicide attempts.
The repeal, according to Dr. Osei, is a victory for Ghana’s mental health advocacy community. He also urged that more be done to assist people who attempt suicide.
Especially coming from the colonial overlords who passed it down to Ghana, he said it was embarrassing that Ghana still had a legislation criminalizing attempted suicide decades after the rule had been overturned in other nations.
According to him, the Mental Health Authority was “extremely elated” because this was a topic they had been seriously debating and felt like a long war they had finally won.
Speaking on Citi FM’s Eyewitness News, Dr. Osei hinted that decriminalizing such a law had been successful in saving many lives around the world.
Others claimed that repealing the ban would encourage individuals to commit suicide, however this is untrue because decriminalizing the act everywhere in the world has proven beneficial and helped those who need it.
He continued by saying that the Mental Health Authority had worked with parliamentarians who had opposed changing the Criminal Offenses Act of 1960 to persuade them of the necessity of changing the Act.
“We targeted those who opposed decriminalization and educated them, and they recognized the need to abolish the prohibition, so they all became converted and acknowledged that attempted suicide is essentially a mental disease rather than a crime,” the author said.
On Tuesday, March 28, the Parliament agreed to alter the Criminal Offences Act of 1960’s provisions that made suicide attempt a crime.