Favor Foundation for Life (FFL), an NGO which advocates mental health and suicide prevention, has petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to pardon prisoners convicted for attempted suicide.
The foundation said the President must consider such persons when exercising his prerogative of mercy enshrined in article 72(1) (a-d) of the 1992 Constitution.
Ghana joined the rest of the world on 10 September 2019 to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on the theme: “Working together to prevent suicide’’.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in every 40 seconds, a life is lost to suicide.
Speaking to journalists at a programme by FFL for staff of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), the founder and National Director of FFL, Mrs Favor Hilda Apini Brown expressed worry about why attempted suicide should be a criminal offence.
She appealed to Parliament to decriminalise attempted suicide because people who attempt suicide need help and not incarceration.
“We’re appealing to Parliament to decriminalise attempted suicide now! Already, the victim is going through a difficult situation and the country should be ready with interventions to help such people and not conviction. I think a better solution for now is to refer people with suicidal ideas to the psychiatric hospital for professional help”, she stated.
FFL is collating one million signatures to Parliament to annul the Criminal Offences Act 1960(29) Section 57 of the Criminal Act which criminalises attempted suicide.
The Occupational Specialist for Health and Safety at TOR, Dr Lord Kwame Arhinkorah, appealed to the various heads of organisations to provide regular mental checkups for their staff.
He said the annual Chief Psychiatric report indicates that a lot of people need mental examination.
“When you carefully study the annual report of the Chief Psychiatric, you will realise that a lot of people out there need to be medically examined. I agree with FFL that convicting people for attempted suicide is not the best solution. The government needs to find a better option of dealing with such challenges”, he advised.