Martin Manley’s bequest: reconsider the stigma of suicide

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Here's Tauriq Moosa in The Guardian:

Tombstone-006By being more open about what leads people to suicide, by not treating suicidal thoughts as automatic signs of insanity, we might actually reduce the number of suicides.

People don't merely want biological life, after all, they want quality life. Who wants to continue living if it means endless, incurable suffering and debilitation? Perhaps a few do, but why should their standard be applied to all?

As research indicates, by reducing social stigma, more effort can go into suicide prevention, not least because we're more likely to donate to a cause if we are not repulsed by the subject. People won't feel ashamed for having suicidal thoughts when they're treated as people, instead of pariahs. This could translate into lives saved.

Furthermore, some countries and certain American states have recognised assisted suicide as a medical option. Certain conditions must be met, of course: an incurable disease, the full consent of a “capable” patient, and other carefully circumscribed parameters. Against those who cry that legalised euthanasia will lead to abuse, murder and so on, there are years of evidence to the contrary, as io9 contributor George Dvorsky points out.

There is plenty of empirical evidence for saying that suicide is a good indicator of mental health problems, but that should be different from arguing that suicide is, by definition, a sign of insanity.

More here.