Erudite Explorer

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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,

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    Sep 15 2012: I really like this question. I've served as a Suicide Prevention counselor, answering the phones and it is an enlightening service to the community.

    I have to believe that some people have a valid reason for crossing over, as I like to call it. I have to believe because some people have defeated every skill I was taught about preventing suicide. While I am not ever allowed to comment or suggest that I agree with them, I've had some silent moments. It's one of the reason's I quit the service.

    The degree to which euthanasia could be abused is large and numerically expanded. I'm sure most people can think of such situations without me listing them. It's a touchy subject and deserves some objective and sympathetic review.

    I do know this: if euthanasia were allowed in the Prison system. It would be elected often. Setting up a review of someones choice would be attacked by every known stance on philosophy, politics, and religious perspective.

    My simple answer is "yes".
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      Sep 18 2012: I do some online suicide prevention and you're right, it is very enlightening. It's so much easier to find reasons to be happy when you're trying to help someone else. I think it makes great therapy.

      I don't think that prisoners should be able to opt for suicide. They have lost their rights and would need to pay their debt to society before they're returned.

      I would like to hear some of the ways that you think euthanasia could be abused.
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        Sep 18 2012: It could be abused the same way people abuse their freedom by justifying such notions that prisoners should not have their rights. Have you ever been a prisoner?
        • Sep 18 2012: It wouldn't be a good idea to let prisoners opt for suicide: there's just too much potential for abuse because prisoners can be forced into it without the outside world knowing.
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          Sep 18 2012: You're correct, we should totally let prisoners have their rights. We should start with their right to freedom.
  • Sep 14 2012: Jesus!
    People are killing themselves! All right?
    Quote figures all you want.
    You have every right to take your own life. That's why it's called, "taking your own life". One is attempting to take their life and solve some problems. When it comes to suicide, no one can tell you how to live and no one can tell you how to die.
    But we need support for everyone and we need to address the reasons or causes instead of quoting figures.

    So what's with the, "take it easy on the rhetoric"?

    If you want to give up your freedom, do so, you're free to, but don't give mine up with yours and that is what is effectively happening in the U.S., and liberties are going fast.

    Too many people want to control other people's miseries while limiting and even eliminating their pleasures.
    They are so constipated, they'll never get their head out of their ass.

    I am not someone else's property. I am not a property of the U.S. or its laws. Any laws for that matter, and no one else is, except for those who have foolishly fallen for those lies. My sister believes everything in America belongs to the government, even what she works for.

    With the current power structure in America and maybe most of the world, any types of policies set up would be abused by those in power and control of them. That I believe 100%. I trust real people to be able to sort things out, working together, and not all the phonies who hold positions of blasphemous officiality.

    We still won't allow people to be free? It's 2012!! already!! Suicide is not a freedom. It's a right.
    Oh, it's 2012. We're still fighting for freedom! Well, on one hand that's good. ON the other, why is it still going on?
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      Sep 14 2012: On 9/11, when people were jumping from the burning towers, were they taking their own lives?

      If you jump from your 15th floor office for no immediately identifiable reason, you are taking your own life

      When you shoot yourself in the head, you are taking your own life.

      Sliting your wrists is taking your own life.

      Intentionally overdosing on medication is taking your own life.

      Injecting yourself with something that you are sure will kill you is taking your own life.

      Pressing a button that you know will put you to sleep, then stop your heart, and bring your death is taking your own life.

      I'm sure you can imagine a torture in which death would be a mercy.

      If you could choose the means to your mercy, what means would you choose?

      What would you be willing to do to have your choice?

      What would you say to those who opine that your torture is tolerable?

      When I say "take it easy" it's because he attempted to falsely attribute the cause of suicide in America to being an American using flawed logic. A fallacy that you're perpetuating.

      "When it comes to suicide, no one can tell you how to live and no one can tell you how to die."

      Tell that to the guy who wants to shoot himself in the head in front of the police station.

      I like what you say about the cause of suicide in America, perhaps you should be a counselor at one of my proposed clinics.
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    Sep 19 2012: "That's right, emotionless logic is the only road to a better, more civilized future."

    So then what about curiosity? Without curiosity would infer that we would have evolved to the point where we no longer need curiosity. The only time I see where we won't need curiosity is when we already know everything. And when we know everything, nothing would be new, inspiring, or innovative, and there would finally be an end state to advancement in intellectual development.
  • Sep 15 2012: "Should we sanction suicide?"

    Yes, you cannot force someone to enjoy the life they have and if they don't enjoy it there is no point in living it. It is selfish to want to keep others from committing suicide when YOU are afraid you'd feel guilty if you let them commit suicide. Society has an obligation to help those who want and can be helped, but when treatment does not work society cannot say "it works, because I say so".
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      Sep 18 2012: When treatment does not work society cannot say "it works, because I say so".

      John what I think is that when you talk about suicide then I will say that prevention of suicide is possible in about 80 percent of cases because its biggest reason is depression and it is not something that is not curable.
  • 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.
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      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.
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    Sep 18 2012: "That's right, emotionless logic is the only road to a better, more civilized future." ~ Erudite Explorer.

    If you were a robot that may be true but to human beings, it's a sign of mental illness.
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      Sep 18 2012: I've processed the emotions and settled them to a level that won't interfere with my judgement as to prudent policies. The total absence of emotion is a disorder, but controlling your emotions so that they don't effect decision-making is a sign of emotional intelligence.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence
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        Sep 18 2012: So. where are you in the decision making palace? Have you made any decisions relating to this discussion that affect our society lately? I'm asking this in all seriousness, so I will know how to address you on issues such as this. Are you a judge or lawyer perhaps? Or is this simply your opinion as a common citizen?
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          Sep 19 2012: Just the opinion of an ordinary citizen who's been around the block enough times to show others the way. I think that forcing people to remain alive absolutely destroys the notion that life is a gift. I think that depression is compounded by the reality that suicide is prevented by any means available. I think that the prevention and stigmas associated with suicide makes it impossible for those considering it to do so objectively. I think that people considering suicide already feel like they have no control over their circumstances, like their choices don't matter. When they are told that they have no choice they fall victim to reactance; killing themselves in a final effort to prove that their choices do matter.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactance_(psychology)
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        Sep 19 2012: I find nothing to disagree with you about. The hard part is institutionalizing this "right". It's a scary mandate. It does place power over other peoples lives if we did.

        I don't know how to go about destigmatizing that act itself. I do know that there are websites where people ask question about technique, openly, and I've never heard of any repercussions about these inquiries in the news or on other websites.

        I believe (know) that sometimes searching for a way can lead to changing one's mind to follow through. They become more educated and aware of their problems associated with this desire.


        Thank you Erudite Explorer for letting me know this information. Have a good day :)
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          Sep 19 2012: I think that a shift in policy, an advertising campaign, and an education program targeted at pre-teens through young adults would slowly undermine those stigmas. The Catholic Church will scream and there will be a rise in suicide rates in the first year or so, but once the dust settles I think we will have reduced the total suffering endured by our society.

          "I believe (know) that sometimes searching for a way can lead to changing one's mind to follow through. They become more educated and aware of their problems associated with this desire."

          I know this too. When someone is searching for suicide methods they often stumble upon those websites you refer to. Not only do they discover that they are far from the only who feels as they do, their feelings and desires are accepted by the group. This acceptance combined with the knowledge obtained in the process is what truly changes their world and their outlook.
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    Sep 18 2012: What's the difference between torturing someone to death and letting then die a torturous death?
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      Sep 18 2012: There is a big difference between action (torturing) and inaction (letting them die.) It's like saying what's the difference between cooking yourself dinner and going out to eat. You could say "nothing" seeing as how either way you're going to eat, but it would be a fallacy.
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        Sep 18 2012: You appear so emotionally detached from the problem where human life is concerned Erudite E.

        When you spend some time in Jail, your attitude will change. Hook up with some Occupy Wall Street people and get a feel for things. I am surprise by the many comments and conversations I heard from them about their experience in a Jail Cell. They, never, in their lifetime ever realized that jail was like that. The reality deviated greatly from their mental image of what it would be like. For many it was their first time coming face to face with the brutality that could be had at the hands of fellow human beings.

        It's an eye opening experience, that can't be obtained any other way.
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          Sep 18 2012: That's right, emotionless logic is the only road to a better, more civilized future.

          I've been to jail several times in a few different states although never as part of a protest. I'm not given a hard time in jail because I empathize with the corrections officers, they do not have an easy job. I understand the desire to stand up for your self and disobey authority in the process, but once you're arrested there is no reason to agitate the police. They're just doing their (stressful, dangerous, unappreciated, underpaid) jobs.
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    Sep 18 2012: So what is the difference between cultural suicide and individual suicide other than scale? How many ways does our culture (from nuclear waste, chemicals, perpetual war, poverty, and economic slavery) perpetuate suicide that effects us all? How can we separate these?
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    Sep 14 2012: What i would like to know is why do some people want to take others with them?
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      Sep 15 2012: Are you asking about a single murder suicide, or more of a cult KoolAid mass suicide? Something else?
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        Sep 15 2012: It's a rare occurence but it happens every now and then,when a parent with little ones jumps off a building with them in each arm.sorry a bit off topic can't find the example i was looking for.

        EE,have you had a loved one suicide or lay dying in pain? when my mother first found out about her pancreatic cancer i asked her if she wanted an overdose,she was an Rn nurse,she knew what was coming in all it's stages and so did i,she refused, not because i asked but because she was scared which she freely admitted,i think in her own way she was going to fight starting with no la la land morphine which a lot of people lapse under when in the final stages,it's like watching a flower slowly bend and droop and lose it's petals.
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          Sep 16 2012: I think that a common reason that people don't have kids is because they see the world as evil and don't want to be responsible for exposing another soul to its torments. Perhaps some people develop this mentality as parents and in their minds they are showing the children mercy.

          No, I have not had that experience and from what I can feel from imagining it...I hope you're okay and I hope that your mother doesn't suffer unnecessarily.

          I must ask though, do you think her fear was of death itself or of some judgement thereafter.

          I wonder how many of those lapses in the final stages age are provided by a merciful nurse.
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        Sep 16 2012: I'll answer it this way,so it will be as close to the memory as possible.

        1. "I must ask though, do you think her fear was of death itself or of some judgement thereafter."

        Both i suppose though my parents weren't exactly true followers of the religion they were raised in.

        2. "I wonder how many of those lapses in the final stages are provided by a merciful nurse."

        I live in nz and at the time and still currently, it's against the law to help end anothers life,I do know that terminal patients have a tick on their forms which says "No resus" which basically means don't try to bring them back,it could be worse for the person,you could come back as a vegetable unable to communicate.The use of morphine in our hospitals is highly monitored,it has to be sighted and signed out,mils recorded,signed back in to it's storage,the patient usually asks for it towards the end if they chose no pain relief or the pain becomes too much to bear,some people try to go without their pain relief as morphine doesn't just clear the pain,it sends you into "La la land" pending on the dosage and for some people it's not exactly what they want their final days to be about,this was a few years ago,things could have changed,i once saw an uncles pain relief and was amazed at how
        much liquid morphine he was given to self medicate or the amount of morphine in pill form he had because of his cancer,i told him to sell it to his shady friends and go out with a bang on a boat cruise somewhere,that made him laugh.
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        Sep 16 2012: 3. "No, I have not had that experience and from what I can feel from imagining it...I hope you're okay and I hope that your mother doesn't suffer unnecessarily."

        I'm fine but thanks,it was a longtime ago,she lasted longer than what she was told,her final days taught me just how individual we are when we handle pain,she was one of the rare ones and the only person i've come across with such a high level of tolerance,during an eye examination due to her having diabetes as well and the cancer had brought it on in full force,she lost her eyesight,completely blind, also her eyelids had puffed up and closed over,she told me they were balls of fire,anyway the young intern had to pry her eyelids apart and knew there was no
        other way to spare her the pain to confirm total loss of sight and to give her closure or confirmation,she was a professional,we had talked about this happening months in advance,it was another stage to be ticked off,the only way i knew she was in severe pain was her index finger was vibrating but the rest of her was frozen in time,the doctor looked at me and shook his head and surprisingly, talked to my mother as if she was hard of hearing,young interns,they make me smile.Most people will flinch or shy away or involuntarily move,not her,i'll never forget it.

        If she had said yes to an overdose i would not have seen her true strength of will,she fought it to the end right up to the 2nd to last day before she asked for morphine.
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        Sep 16 2012: Some humans can take a lot of pain and can handle the slow shutting down of their bodies,it doesn't phase them at the sudden loss of something they took for granted,some can't due to the severity of what they have like MS sufferers though i don't have any experience with that condition.

        I sometimes ask myself if i hadn't asked her would she have asked me? Did my asking her galvanize her to fight? i'll never know but i'm proud that she did,it was her finest hour.

        So yes I'm for euthanasia but at the same time there's a part of me that is still

        wondering.
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    Sep 13 2012: I agree that the right to die is implicit with the right to life. I don't think we need an institution to support the habit of suicide however. Also, if you require a counseling period, people will still just do it the old fashioned way.

    I would also add, that in many countries the homicide rate is higher than the suicide rate... So maybe we should examine what it is about American life, governance, and society, that is making people kill themselves at staggering rates. I would suggest that many intelligent, and kind hearted Americans are currently killing themselves because they can't deal with the fact that their money will always be stolen from them, to murder innocent people. An American soldier commits suicide every day... Maybe we should do something about that.
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      Sep 14 2012: I think that you're on to something, but I'm having a hard time visualizing it.
      If people have the right to die then the police wouldn't come to prevent suicide. What would happen then?

      I'm sure that some would still check out the old fashioned way, but I think that many would consider a painless and assured death to be a big enough carrot to lead them into treatment.

      There's an error of logic in your final argument. Even it another countries homicide rate is higher than their suicide rate that doesn't mean that country will have a lower suicide rate than the US.

      The suicide rate in the US is actually quite average when compared to other countries, so take it easy on the rhetoric.

      http://chartsbin.com/view/prm

      US soldiers, however, are committing suicide at a very elevated rate.

      http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/10/29/white-house-policy-adding-to-stigma-of-suicide/
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        Sep 15 2012: That's truly sad about the military stats,it's even sadder when i viewed my own countries % which is geographically isolated which can play a part as well but is not a major indicator.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 13 2012: If I am paralyzed, I will drown, but I don't know anyone who has survived a jump from that bridge. My risk - my consequence. Not your risk. Not your consequence. Not your business. VERY different directions because you think that my business should be your business, therefore I should not allowed to own my own body.
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    Sep 13 2012: I would say that the right to die is implicit within the right to live. If one cannot abstain from exercising a right, it is really more of a duty or obligation. Similar to how the right to vote implies that one can abstain from voting if one chooses. As such, the right to life implies that one can abstain from exercising that right, i.e. die.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 13 2012: So you are OK with being legally prevented from owning your own body without just cause? Perhaps if you were a woman, you might feel differently. Here in the USA, companies that have a moral objection to birth control pills are legally exempted from offering insurance coverage for them, while even convicted pedophiles who want Viagara to assist them in their ability to rape children have no such limitations imposed on them. Texas requires women who want an abortion - even in cases of rape and incest - to endure medical rape (trans vaginal sonogram). 30 states make it legal to fire someone for being born homosexual.

    Let's say FOR INSTANCE that you are a gay man. An extraordinary number of suicides are homosexuals who are denied the right to live as equals in their society. (You may not face the same social disgrace as you live in California or work in the performance arts). How do you live with your publicly degraded status and the consequent bullying and terrorism from homophobes?

    Let's say that you are 13 and are carrying your father's child, and the law is forcing you to carry that child to term, even though it is dangerous for a 13 year old to give birth and you are already traumatized by the incest. Should you be denied your own way of saying, "my father did this to me"and "I don't want a baby"?

    Let's say that you have Lou Gehrigs disease, and as you lay in your bed, having lost control of every part of your body except your ability to breathe and think - and you know that at some time, your lungs will fail and you will experience the pain of suffocation. Wouldn't' you want the right to own your body?

    I do not want OTHER people to make MY life and death decisions. I want to own my body. I do not need your approval. But laws that force me to make my death violent if I want it to be quick and easy may cause a loved one to enter a room and see blood and brains splattered across the wall.

    If you like slavery, that's your choice.
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      Sep 13 2012: You're a passionate one, I like that.

      Where oh where did I say that it was anyone's decision besides your own?

      edit* I think you may have meant to post this comment elsewhere.
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        Gail .

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        Sep 13 2012: I posted this in the wrong place. Sorry. It was meant to be a reply to your comment to me.

        If you can force me to undergo psychotherapy prior to allowing me to commit suicide, when the cultural norms of our society are so screwed up, you really aren't doing me any favors. You are prolonging my suffering.

        If you really want to reduce the numbers of suicides, we should fix our despotic culture that is the cause of depression & hopelessness.

        Our economic model demands that I harm you with every penny that I either earn or spend. We need to change that to a social model that lets me offer you and me benefit with every act I undertake.
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          Sep 13 2012: Would you prefer that I just slap a straight jacket on you and prevent your death with physical and chemical restraints for the remainder of your natural life?

          If we can't get to ideal at this time, does that mean that we shouldn't take a step in the right direction?
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        Gail .

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        Sep 13 2012: Well.... your idea of the right direction and my idea of the right direction are two VERY different directions. I would prefer that you let me jump off the Golden Gate Bridge and let me offer my remains (that will be swept out to sea) to the fish. It brings no harm to you. If it brings emotional torment to my loved ones, then they never really loved me.
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          Sep 13 2012: What if you don't die from the fall, but you break your neck and now you're paralyzed, as in unable to kill yourself?

          Current: Not offered

          Mine: Conditionally offered

          Yours: Unconditionally offered

          How can you say that these are "VERY different directions?"

          Don't bother
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        Gail .

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        Sep 13 2012: If I am paralyzed, I will drown, but I don't know anyone who has survived a jump from that bridge. My risk - my consequence. Not your risk. Not your consequence. Not your business. VERY different directions because you think that my business should be your business, therefore I should not allowed to own my own body.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 13 2012: At age 12, I tried to commit suicide. I was surprised when I woke up, and the only reason I didn't try it again was because I was a christian and I thought that God had rejected me. I lived with depression for another 35 years. Medicine didn't help.

    I haven't lived a day of depression in 15 years. I didn't have therapy. I learned about who and what I am. I learned about the incredibly powerful creature that I am. I educated myself and learned about how many lies I had been told, and in seeing that I was a sane person living in an insane environment, all of the pieces started falling into place. Life lost its visage of cruelty.

    This being said, if we want to bring down the numbers of suicides, we should start telling the truth to one another. But if an adult really wants to die, there should be a place where that person can go to end it all.

    If you do not own your body, you are not free. If you know that you don't own your own body, you are depressed, whether you know you are depressed or not. Suicide is the ultimate statement about ownership.

    I don't think that there is a role for intensive inpatient counseling for as long as our cultural norms cause us to harm others in our every act.
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      Sep 13 2012: What is the truth that we should be telling? Or do you mean the truth in general?

      So you're saying that if this policy were implemented that it would reduce the occurrence of depression?

      I think that treatment ,or at the very least the time restriction, will be necessary if were trying to prevent suicides. It's not the kind of thing we should allow people to do on a whim, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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        Gail .

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        Sep 13 2012: The truth that we should be telling people is that they are powerful beyond words. We create our realities with our thoughts and beliefs (beliefs are thought constructs). You can have, do, be anything that you want if you first understand WHAT a human being is and HOW human experience works. If life is not satisfactory, here is the way to change it.

        right now those who deliberately manifest their own realities are laughed at. But we're not the one committing suicide. Those who are in pain because they have been taught that they are vulnerable and that victimhood is possible are the ones who commit suicide.

        Let's all open our minds a bit and become self-aware. Depression will evaporate like dew on a summer's morning.
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    Sep 13 2012: Your question asks if an individual should be allowed to control the when and how of ending their own life. But then in your narrative below the question, you propose that it shold be OK (euthanasia) only if another group ("...those desiring it would have to subject themselves to a period of intensive inpatient counselling and treatment") be the ones to determine whether to let the person do it. That's the crux of the whole issue...Who is REALLY making the individuals decision?

    You ask what other effects this level of freedom could have on people. It scares the heck out of me, from an historical perspective.

    Many people have been convinced to "Drink the Kool-Aid" by a charismatic "leader" who convinced them to commit suicide for whatever reason(s) the LEADER thought they should do it. Everything from religious beliefs to the want to "join" with space aliens arriving on flying saucers to "take them to a better life".

    One of Humanity's goals should be to help each other in times of distress. If someone is experiencing mental trauma to the extent they think the only viable solution to escape it is to kill themself, then I do believe someone else should try to intervene. Thus, in those type of cases, I would not support any law making suicide a "freedom".

    I do have opposite concerns about euthanasia under certain circumstances, though. For a terminally ill patient with no chance of a cure who will face a transition to death that they are not looking forward to (pain, prolonged suffering, etc), I support a program that would allow them to die with dignity in a manner of their own choosing (by "manner" I mean the "when" to end their own life).

    As the above examples show, it would be impossible to make a law or freedom that could apply to every individual in every possible circumstance. I think that is where we need to step outside the box and use our Human capacity for compassion and reason to decide issues like these.
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      Sep 13 2012: The counselling is meant to help the suicidal see why they should want to live. If at the end of a set amount of time (14 days?) of inpatient treatment their conviction to die has not wavered, they will be granted their wish.
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        Sep 13 2012: Establishing any form of time factor for the inpatient treatment is what concerns me. It seems to me there are three general types of suicidal behavior (and I submit I may be wrong about this, but they are three I can think of now from my previous readings about it):

        1. No Warning Suicide: Nobody saw it coming. The victim hid their intentions up to the last minute (or at least no one near them recognized any symptoms). We won't prevent those.

        2. The Crisis Intervention: Someone noticed the attempt was coming and was able to stop it in time. Think person crawls out on a ledge to jump off a building, but is pulled back in without their consent. Or maybe they were talked back in. This will normally make them an immediate "inpatient" under 24-hour supervision for the intial treatment/counseling.

        3. The After Inpatient Risk: Many times after inpatient treatment, the suicide prone personality is not "cured". Medications can help to try to prevent depression, anxiety, etc. Buy there are numerous cases where the suicide still occured after the patient was released from inpatient treatment...in some cases, years later.

        I'm trying to rationalize a system where we establish any amount of time "is enough" to make a decision about someone's mental capabilites concerning suicide, and after that time limit is reached, we let them kill themselves. I just can't find a rational reason to allow that. Seems to me that if we once convinced them to not commit the act, then we released them, then discovered later they were considering it again, we would still want to try to prevent them from doing it. Your proposal seems to indicate a certain amount of time should be all that is taken into consideration, and once that time expires, we'll just let them kill themselves.

        That's not the same as someone contemplating euthanasia with a terminal illness who is going to suffer a prolonged transition to a certain death in the near future.

        Am I missing something?
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          Sep 13 2012: It's not just about preventing suicides, it's about reducing the pain of those affected by suicide. Your first case, as I'm sure you can imagine, is the most traumatic for survivors. The shock from the abruptness of the event and all the unanswered questions is a hell I wouldn't wish on anyone. Why this person killed themselves we'll never know, but why do you think they hid their intentions?

          As far as the terminally ill are concerned, Oregon's Death with Dignity act has already broken that ground and there's no reason to think it won't spread.

          Perhaps the time period should be on a sliding scale based on age. The age of the suicidal subtracted from 50 equals the days required.