[ExI] Right to Suicide

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Sep 25 14:23:48 UTC 2016

On 25 September 2016 at 08:48, Chris Hibbert <hibbert at mydruthers.com
<javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','hibbert at mydruthers.com');>> wrote:

>  Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> It's not as simple as that. Most people who try to suicide do it as a
>> result of a situational crisis or a depressive illness, which we know will
>> pass even with no intervention beyond keeping them from killing themselves
>> during the worst moments.
> Can you point to evidence of that? Maybe it's the phrase "try to do
> suicide". I'd be surprised to find out that people with "depressive
> illness" can get their shit together well enough to successfully kill
> themselves. I don't have as much doubt that they "try". Is there evidence
> that most successful suicides are also the result of transitory situations?

It's often said that a large proportion of completed suicides, 90% or more,
are associated with mental illness. This problematic not only because of
how the mental illness is diagnosed in those without a formal history
(retrospectively, talking to those who knew the dead person) but also
because the definition of mental illness can be very broad, including
"adjustment disorder", which essentially covers anyone who experiences a
stressful life event and becomes suicidal.


The claim that depressed people are unable to kill themselves applies only
to the most severely depressed who can't function at all, and would
probably die from self-neglect if they weren't hospitalised. If you're able
to go to the supermarket to buy food, you're also able to buy a box of
paracetamol, or throw yourself under a truck.

> Should we instead help all these people to die?
> I don't strongly believe that the government or medical practitioners
> should help people to commit suicide, it should just not be illegal. I
> wouldn't want to make it easy to buy a suicide kit--whatever it consisted
> of would be to easy to re-purpose as a murder kit. I just think doctors
> should be allowed to counsel people who think it's their best option, and
> it shouldn't be criminal to assist them if reasonable assurances could be
> provided to the courts that it was their choice. I think the legal
> terminology is "a rebuttable presumption".

If an 18 year old tells the doctor he plans to kill himself because his
girlfriend left him, and the doctor helps him to do so after determining it
is his choice, should that be both legal and ethical?

Stathis Papaioannou

Stathis Papaioannou
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