TED Conversations

Erudite Explorer

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Should we be allowed to control our lives in the most fundamental way; to choose between life and death? Should we sanction suicide?

The suicide rate is double the homicide rate in the US, and the #1 cause is untreated depression.

The current policy of prevention via societies most powerful corrective measures including arrest, loss of rights, physical restraint, isolation, humiliation and the like are part of the problem. The desire to be successful in ending your life forces you to do it in secret using whatever barbaric means at your disposal. It forces people to the fringe.

How much of the suffering of those affected could be prevented by not discovering the bloody corpse of a loved one in the bedroom with a gun in his hand and his brains splattered across half the room. How much suffering could be prevented if your suicidal loved one could talk to you without the fear of knowing you can quite easily prevent their desire with overwhelming force? How many suicides could be prevented if depressed people confided in their peers without having a badge of "mentally ill, sinful, weak, or selfish" pinned over their heart?


People are going to commit suicide regardless of legalities, prejudgemental stigmas, passion filled lamentations of loved ones or anything else you might thing will get them realize the err of their ways. Suicide is a tangible aspect to humanity both caused by suffering and the cause of suffering. If we as a people want to reduce damage it has to be done through acceptance, availability of the least traumatic method of termination, and counseling to not only determine(undermine) the conviction of the suicidal, but also to guide all parties to a mutual understanding or possibly peaceful resolution.

Provided that those desiring it would have to subject themselves to a period of intensive inpatient counselling and treatment, would a policy that universally offered euthanasia prevent more suicides than the current policy?

What other effects could this level of personal freedom have on people.

edit* Please remember that UNTREATED depression is the #1 cause of suicide,

+1
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 14 2012: Even the question seems immoral. Society has no right to sanction suicide, as it has no right to not sanction suicide.

    Society does have the opportunity to make suicide less brutal and less risky. Society has the opportunity to offer mental health services to those who voluntarily seek such services. Rather than taking the approach that society should do something, and ask what society should do, let us ask, to each individual sufferer, how can we offer assistance. This is a very different approach.

    I think it is very important that in the USA we start heading back in the direction of individual freedom. When developing public policy, individual freedom should be the starting point, the fundamental premise upon which policies are built.

    Reconciling individual freedom with the responsibility of society for people who are mentally ill and incompetent to properly care for themselves is very difficult. The mentally ill, who have the most at stake, can hardly be expected to contribute to a rational debate. The people who are considered experts on this issue are care givers, who believe that intervention should always be given a chance. These folks have good arguments, but there are other valid points of view.

    I have witnessed the suffering of the terminally ill. Leaving these people with no option but continued suffering is outrageously inhumane and immoral. Anyone engaged in actually making public policy regarding assisted suicide should first visit the hospitals and mental wards and witness what they are dealing with.
    • thumb
      Sep 18 2012: "Society has no right to sanction suicide, as it has no right to not sanction suicide."

      So what should become of the current policy of prevention by force?

      "Rather than taking the approach that society should do something, and ask what society should do, let us ask, to each individual sufferer, how can we offer assistance."

      Who do you mean by "us" and "we?" Are you suggesting that there be no public assistance offered to the suicidal?

      Do you believe that anyone who's physically healthy but suicidal is mentally ill? I can think of a couple scenarios where ending your own life is both logical and reasonable.

      I do agree with you 100% as to the inhumanity in forcing the terminally ill to suffer. I hope that the progress made in Oregon spreads like wildfire.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.