Decriminalise suicide – Minister

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

Communications Minister, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has advocated that suicide should be decriminalised, saying any attempt by someone to take his or her own life must be seen as a call for help than an act of criminality.

She said the current system where attempted suicide was punishable by law was unacceptable and should not be encouraged.

Instead of criminalising the act, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful, MP for Ablekuma West, said it was important for interventions to give people, who might contemplate suicide, to seek solutions to their troubles.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful was speaking on the floor of Parliament yesterday to support suggestions by, Dr. Emmanuel Marfo, the Oforikrom MP, on what could be done to stem the tide of suicide cases in recent times.

She said it was time Ghana took mental health seriously and created the awareness on its effects on the country and families, and urged for the resourcing of the Mental Health Authority for it to be able to carry out its mandate effectively.

Dr. Marfo, among other things suggested that compulsory health screenings were done at the beginning of every semester at the tertiary level of education, to ascertain the mental fitness of students before academic works commenced.

In the last two weeks, at least seven alleged suicide cases have been reported across the country including one at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and the University of Ghana.

Wa West MP and a former Health Minister, Mr. Joseph Yileh Chireh, linked suicide to mental disorders, saying there was the need to direct attention to mental health care delivery.

Until that was done, Mr. Chireh said suicide would persist in Ghanaian communities.

He also urged the Ministry of Education and school authorities to prioritise counselling at all levels of education and charged students to make use of the facilities.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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