Gov't once again urged to decriminalize attempted suicide

| Updated Nov 26, 2017 at 10:23am



Stakeholders in the mental health service continues to call on government to consider expunging the law that criminalizes attempted suicide in the country.

According to them governments should rather put in place a national policy that will provide the framework for suicide prevention in the country.

Speaking at a workshop in Accra, a Senior Staff at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Portia Abla Tornu said Ghanaians should be empathic and avoid being judgmental to persons who are hurting and lead them to professionals who can help them.

In recent years, it is very alarming that there is incessant increase of suicides menace among Ghanaians especially the youth. Unemployment, adolescent victims of physical and sexual abuse and physical disability are a contributing factor.

The workshop which was organized as part of the Accra Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Day Celebration was to help find a lasting solution to the menace.

Mrs. Tornu was of the view that there are lack of centers for troubled teenagers to go and seek help even when they expressed such a suicidal tendencies.

The Accra Archdiocesan President, Mrs. Margaret Yeboah said the church is doing more to educate people on the the negative impact of these menace.

Stakeholders are asked to offer suicide prevention information and give people who are suicidal resources they need.

In a related development, Mrs. Tornu has expressed dismay of government's inability to allocate funds for the mental health issues in the 2018 budget.

Mrs. Tornu said the country’s mental health services are under severe pressure, adding that the budget shows lack of commitment, vision and real concern for mental health of the nation.

Mrs Tornu was speaking at Workshop on drug abuse and suicide organised by the Accra Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Day Celebration in Accra.

Mental health issues are neglected all over the world. In Ghana it is not only relegated to the back drop of the health sector, but, culturally mental health is not a priority.

Governments over the years have paid less attention to the concerns of mental health in the country.

Culturally, mental issues, particularly, mental illness is highly stigmatized at all levels and has generated a significant impact on patient care.

Mrs. Portia Abla Tornu said discussions on mental illness are minimal and no concrete decisions are made on the numerous challenges that confront this neglected sector of health.

There is call for Civil Society and Policy makers to close their ranks for a common interest against an enemy that we are all at risk.