Mental health: NGOs, actors against criminalising suicide in Nigeria

Non-governmental organisations, mental health actors and advocates have launched a campaign to decriminalise suicide in Nigeria, saying it should not be a punishable offence.

The topic resonated again at a one-day discussion on Mental Health, Suicide Decriminalisation integrating Mental Health in Universal Health Coverage.

Speaking at the conversation which centered on decriminalising suicide on Friday in Abuja, the programme officer, The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), Precious Anslem, expressed regrets that mental health had come to stay globally, saying “we can only manage it, but cannot stop it.”

Anslem, a psychologist, added that “we only need to manage our brains to ensure there is no breakdown.”

“We are advocating that Nigerians should learn to manage their situation in order to operate at optimum level the way a mechanic is called to maintain a car to function well,” he said.

In his opening address, the Founder and President MHEI, Mr. Ameh Zion Abba, vowed to intensify campaigns alongside other actors in the country and outside to take a cue from Ghana that had decriminalised attempted suicide in their country.

“At a time other climes are seeing attempted suicide as a health issue and sowing empathy, we are still running with an outdated law criminalising suicide. The three arms of the government should at this time reconsider their position as to the subject matter,” he said.