President Nana Akufo-Addo has praised efforts to decriminalise suicide in Ghana, claiming that it will improve access to care.
He added that the development would also help to remove the stigma associated with such attempted acts, as well as improve outcomes for individuals in the country struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
“I am delighted to announce that on March 31, 2023, we took a significant step forward for mental health service delivery by decriminalising suicide in Ghana,” the President noted.
In a speech he gave at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra on Tuesday, he said that all of those efforts were aimed at improving mental health care delivery in the country.
The ‘Melody’ building has a waiting area, consulting room, offices, conference and lecture halls, a treatment room, and a pharmacy.
Among the key motivations underlying attempted and completed suicides, according to psychiatrists, are feelings of shame related to economic loss, sexual weakness, marriage, and familial problems.
Poverty and financial difficulties, evasion of dishonour and punishment, health issues, and previous suicide attempts are all factors.
On the importance of the ultra-modern facility, President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that it would not only serve the University of Ghana Medical School, but also the larger KBTH community.
“This building symbolises a beautiful partnership between public institutions and the private sector,” he said.
It demonstrated the benefits that such a collaboration could bring to the country, the president said, emphasising the government’s commitment 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 judgement, discrimination, or social isolation.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo assured that his administration was on track to build the necessary infrastructure to support the country’s mental healthcare services.
“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 at the University of Ghana, who is credited with raising funds for the psychiatry complex, stated in a brief address that she was delighted to see the project, which was conceived some 20 years ago, come to fruition.
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.