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Made in Manchester suicide criminalisation doc debuts on World Service this week

Radio and audio production company Made in Manchester has made a ground breaking documentary about the countries around the world where you can be jailed for attempting suicide.

Creative director Ashley Byrne, who has personal experience himself of relatives and friends taking their own life, as well as a partner who has attempted suicide twice, presents the programme, which examines parts of the world where people can be prosecuted for attempting suicide.

Byrne speaks to people in Kenya, Bangledesh and Malawi, where suicide is still punishable by a fine or a jail term of up to two years. In one story a young man who attempted to take his own life was beaten up by the local community. In others, people who have attempted suicide are banged up with serious criminals like killers.

Byrne said: “It’s scary to think there’s around 20 countries across the globe that still criminalise suicide. And a lot of the time it’s cultural and religious attitudes and beliefs which influence the continuation of old laws going back decades, sometimes centuries.”

The presenter hears from people in Pakistan, Ghana and Guyana where the laws have recently been scrapped. He discovers that though there’s been decriminalisation, stigma prevails and vulnerable people really struggle to get help.

He added: “As someone who has been affected by suicide myself, I was shocked to find out so many people around the world are battling these kinds of laws.”

Suicide’s Silent Survivors will broadcast first on the BBC World Service from 9.30 UK time on Thursday 11th July 2024. The programme is the latest in a series of docs for the World Service which coincide with MIM celebrating its 19th year as a production company.

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