This research could impact the assisted suicide debate.
A new study published in the July 2007 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry finds that the number of requests for suicide declines when patients are successfully treated for depression. The research could impact the assisted suicide debate as pro-life advocates believe most patients seek help killing themselves when they experience severe depression.
Group Health researchers conducted the study by examining more than 100,000 patients treated for depression and found that suicide attempts declined during the first month of treatment. Suicide attempts were most likely the month before the start of treatment and fell by at least 50 percent the month after treatment.
The results of this study should be closely examined by Oregon, the only state that has legalized physician-assisted suicide. All of the patients in Oregon, who killed themselves with their doctor’s help in 2006, did not receive any treatment for depression beforehand.