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Psychology Lecturer repeats calls to decriminalize attempted suicides

Psychologist and lecturer at the University of Ghana, Emmanuel Assampong has called for the decriminalization of suicide laws.

Emmanuel Assampong’s statement is in line with the commemoration of the 2020 World Suicide Prevention Day.

The 2020 theme for the commemoration, “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” seeks to call the attention of stakeholders to the urgent need to contribute to the decriminalization of the prevention of suicides.

Over 800,000 people take their lives annually, according to available statistics at the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to Act 29 section 57, subsection 2 of the Consolidation of Criminal Code (1960), “whoever attempts to commit suicide shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Ghanaian law also criminalizes the abatement of suicide. According to Act 29, section 57, subsection 1 of the penal code, “Whoever abets the commission of suicide by any person shall whether or not the suicide be actually committed, be guilty of first degree felony.”

The Psychologist and lecturer, Mr Assampong said suicidal thoughts are classified as mental illness which should not be criminalized.

He cautioned the general public to comfort and assist suicide victims who do not get help after their first attempt because more often than not, these persons when left unattended to, try hard to succeed at the next attempt.

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