July 29, 2016 14:10 - 15:40

Physicians attitudes toward suicide, criminalizing attempted suicide, and suicide prevention in Ghana

[Speaker] Osafo, Joseph:1
[Co-author] Akotia, Charity S:1, Boakye, Kofi E:2
1:University of Ghana (Ghana), 2:Anglia Ruskin University (United Kingdom)

Reports indicate that most suicide attempters wished their physicians explored the mental health dimension of their problems weeks preceding the act. However, negative attitudes of physicians toward suicide may hamper this process. This study was set against this background and explored the attitudes of physicians toward suicide, suicidal persons and the law criminalizing the act in Ghana. Fifteen (5 females, 10 males) physicians in the capital, Accra participated in a semi-structured qualitative interview. Results showed that the majority of physicians viewed suicide as a health crisis with a few indicating it was a religious violation. Consistently the former supported a repeal of the criminal code; whilst the moralists did not. Finally, Physicians viewed their role in suicide prevention as referral agents, lay counsellors, and community educators. The implications for both education and training of physicians as gatekeepers in suicide prevention in Ghana are addressed.
Advanced Search