GHANA: WE’LL SUSTAIN DECRIMINALISATION OF SUICIDE ADVOCACY – MENTAL HEALTH AUTHORITY

By: Jerry Akornor/www.africanakua.com, Ghana

The Ghana Mental Health Authority (MHA) says it is determined to sustain its already avowed advocacy on the urgent need to decriminalize suicide behaviors in Ghana until parliament kowtow to their demand.

The MHA has been at the forefront of pushing the parliament of Ghana to expunge aspect of the country’s constitution that makes suicide behaviors criminal. With this year’s World Mental Health Day celebration scheduled for October 10, the authority says it will continue to gather courage, momentum, intensify advocacy and mount intense pressure until the legislature makes suicide behaviors unlawful.

The World Mental Health Day slated for October 10, 2020, is a day set aside to scale up global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. The 2020 celebration focuses on “Mental Health for All, Greater Investment – Greater Access” spearheaded by World Federation for Mental Health and the World Health Organization.

The Mental Health Authority in Ghana has locally carved out a theme christened “The Power of the Voice Towards Decriminalization of Suicide” from the above global theme. This is in tandem with the Mental Health Authority’s recent avowed efforts to decriminalize suicide behaviors as part of Suicide Prevention Day celebration.

Speaking ahead of October 10, 2020, the World Mental Health Celebration day, Chief Executive of the MHA in Ghana Prof. Akwasi Osei said that: “The Mental Health Authority recognizes the need to sustain the advocacy on decriminalizing  suicide behaviors in Ghana”.

The Government of Ghana has been dragging its feet on the matter despite the demand from the Mental Health Authority to repeal the law that makes suicidal  behavioural patterns criminal. In view of this, the MHA intends to whip up the interests of stakeholders until the lawmakers put premium on its old-aged demand.

According to the Chief Psychiatrist Prof. Akwasi Osei the MHA  is committed to its core values of “recognition of diversity, equal treatment, confidentiality, professionalism, compassion and team work”.

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