President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has welcomed moves to decriminalise suicide in Ghana, saying it will improve access to care.
The development, he said, would also help remove the stigma associated with such attempted acts while improving outcomes for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviours in the country.
“I am delighted to announce that on 31 March 2023, we took a significant step forward for mental health service delivery by decriminalising suicide in Ghana,” the President noted.
Inaugurating an ultra-modern psychiatry building at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), in Accra, he pointed out that all those efforts aimed at improving mental health care delivery in the country.
The building, called ‘The Melody’, has facilities, including a waiting area, consulting room, offices, conference and lecture halls, treatment room and pharmacy.
Psychiatrists say among the key motivations underlying attempted and completed suicides are experiences of shame related to the loss of economic control, sexual weakness, marriage, and familial problems.
Other factors are poverty and financial difficulties, evasion of dishonour and punishment, health problems, and previously attempted suicides.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, on the importance of the ultra-modern facility, said it would not only serve the University of Ghana Medical School but also cater to the larger KBTH community.
“This building symbolises a beautiful partnership between public institutions and the private sector,” he noted.
It demonstrated the benefits the nation could derive from such a partnership, the President noted, stressing that the Government was committed to advancing mental health care in the country.
He said the psychiatric building “represented a beacon of hope, a sanctuary where individuals can seek help without fear of judgment, discrimination or social isolation.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo assured that his administration was on course to provide the needed infrastructure to support mental healthcare services in the country.
“Our journey to provide comprehensive and accessible health care for all is ongoing.
“Together, we can build a nation where mental healthcare is a priority, and every Ghanaian receives the care and support they deserve,” the President stated.
Professor Angela Ofori-Atta, the immediate-past Head of the Psychiatry Department, the University of Ghana, who is credited for mobilising funds for the construction of the psychiatry complex, in a brief address, said she was delighted to witness the completion of the project which was conceived some 20 years ago.
The building is named “The Melody” in honour of the late mother of Prof. Ofori-Atta, Melody Millicent Danquah, the first female pilot in Ghana.
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