A Professor at the Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada has asked Ghanaian legislators to consider the revision of sections of the country’s laws that criminalise suicide.
Professor Magnus Mfoafo-M’Carthy said people who commit or attempt to commit suicide suffer some form of mental disorders and should rather be referred to the appropriate mental health facility for counselling and treatment.
He made the call when he addressed students of the School of Social Work in Accra at their SRC Week Celebration on the theme: “Suicide, The Role of Social Work in Preventing, Intervention and Post vention.”
According to him, committing suicide is a socio-moral challenge which affected people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries, and was a widespread illnesses, with the causative factors including poverty, substance abuse, depression, poor traumatic stress disorder and bipolar.
Prof Mfoafo-M’Carthy said there should rather be a discussion on the subject matter to salvage people from suicide rather than interdicting it adding 828,000 people committed suicide in 2015 globally with a total of 1,500 people dying due to suicide every year in Ghana.
He mentioned interventions such as school-based programmes to provide counseling and support to persons with the condition and the development of community-based services to address stigma and other forms of discriminations against affected persons.
He also advised the students to be of best practice in the field and deliver good services in the social domain when they pass out from the school.
Dr Mawia Zakaria, the Principal of the School of Social Work, Osu said the school faced numerous challenges including the withdrawal of student allowance, unemployment and lack of transportation for field works which hindered smooth administration of the school.
He, therefore, called on government to address the grievances faced by the students.
The week-long celebration from May 2 to May 8 has health walk, indoor and outdoor games, clean-up exercise and thanksgiving service as some of the major activities.
The School of Social Work at Osu in Accra is a government training institution under the Department of Social Welfare.
It was established in 1945 to train generic social workers who take up positions in the Department of Social Welfare as social case workers, rehabilitation officers, community development officers, probation officers, social workers in health care settings among others.
The School currently has a population of 250 students both male and female and runs diploma in Social Work on regular and sandwich modules.