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Crisis. 2014;35(2):132-6. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000235.

The law criminalizing attempted suicide in Ghana: the views of clinical psychologists, emergency ward nurses, and police officers.

Author information

1
<location>Department of Social Work and Health Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway</location>
2
<location>Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana</location>
3
<location>Faculty of Nursing, Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway</location>

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Attempted suicide is still considered a crime in Ghana.

AIMS:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes toward this law held by health workers and police officers in Ghana so as to provide culture-sensitive arguments to aid in abolishing the law.

METHOD:

Qualitative interviews were conducted with eight clinical psychologists, eight emergency ward nurses, and eight police officers.

RESULTS:

The majority of informants did not agree with the law criminalizing attempted suicide in Ghana, although five of the emergency ward nurses and two police officers did. Arguments for agreeing with the law were that people have no right to take life and that the law has a deterrent effect and thus it will help reduce the suicide rate. The main argument for not agreeing with the law was that suicidal behavior is a mental health issue. Those who argued in favor of the law did not seem to reflect much on the reasons for suicidal behavior.

CONCLUSION:

Education on how to understand suicidal behavior and suicidal people may aid the work toward decriminalizing attempted suicide in Ghana.

KEYWORDS:

Ghana; crime; suicide attempt

PMID:
24197485
DOI:
10.1027/0227-5910/a000235
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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