Thursday, July 18, 2024

Malawi: Malawi Told to Decriminalize Attempted Suicide

LifeLine ANPPCAN Malawi, a member of Lifeline International which focuses on mental health, has asked Malawi government to decriminalize attempted suicide.

Country Deputy Director of Lifeline ANPPCAN Malawi, Henderson Mhango made the call in an interview with the publication on Tuesday.

Mhango said suicide is a mental health issue thereby criminalizing it denies people a right to access health services.

He further said his organisation will soon start engaging stakeholders on advocacy and community mobilization as one way of pushing for the decriminalization of suicide in Malawi.

In Malawi, attempting suicide is illegal under Section 229 of the Penal Code and the offence attracts a maximum of two years in prison.

On October 26, LifeLine International through its members across the global launched a suicide decriminalization campaign where the first phase in African content will focus in two countries namely Malawi and Nigeria.

At the launch Lifeline International African Coordinator, Professor Taiwo Lateef Sheikh called on African governments to accelerate progress, decriminalize suicide, and implement prevention measures.

“The decriminalization of suicide in Africa is an urgent priority given the number of archaic laws that need to be repealed on the continent. Criminalization is the opposite of compassionate care and does not deter suicide attempts, nor does it address the underlying issues of suicide ideation.

“It goes against Africa’s cultural and religious values, which emphasise empathy and understanding,” said Sheikh.

Recently, Member of Parliament for Lilongwe South Peter Dimba asked parliament to decriminalize attempted suicide.

In his wisdom, Dimba said people involved in attempted suicide tend to be mentally unstable and deserving support and not punishment.