On Tuesday, Parliament amended sections of the Criminal Offenses Act of 1960 that criminalized attempted suicide in Ghana. With this amendment, any person who attempts to take their own life will now be considered a mental health issue that requires assistance by law rather than imprisonment.
Health experts in Ghana have been pushing for the law to be changed, as they believe that attempted suicide is a medical condition that requires health support rather than punishment.
However, some legislators were against the move to decriminalize attempted suicide, with former Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu stating in 2019 that the attempt to take one’s life is an unacceptable behavior that should be punished and deterred.
He added that criminalizing an attempt to commit suicide would discourage Ghanaians, especially the youth, from realizing that there is no reward in killing oneself.
According to reports, over 1,500 cases of suicide are reported in Ghana every year.