A new study finds that the number of requests for suicides declines when patients are successfully treated for depression. The research could have a significant impact on the assisted suicide debate as pro-life advocates have long said patients mostly seek help killing themselves when coping with 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. Suicide requests steadily declined as time progressed following treatment.
This study shows that many who might choose to seek assisted suicide will choose to continue living if they receive treatment. Doctors and other health care providers need to remember that their primary goal is to save lives; even if their patient wants to end their own life, they have a responsibility to protect life. Treatment for depression seems like a simple step to take.