Research

Assisted suicide: why psychiatrists should engage in the debate (British Journal of Psychiatry)

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Matthew Hotopf, William Lee and Annabel Price set out the need for psychiatrists to engage in the 'assisted dying' debate

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In this editorial in The British Journal of Psychiatry Matthew Hotopf, Wiliam Lee and Annabel Price suggest that psychiatrists should engage in the debate on 'assisted dying' because the issues at stake will affect them and because, if the law were to be changed, they are likely to have a significant part to play in its implementation.  They suggest that there are three main areas where psychiatrists’ expertise may be informative: (a) the extent to which safeguards to limit the availability of 'assisted dying' to target groups can be applied safely and fairly, including to individuals with psychiatric disorders; (b) the complexities inherent in assessing mental capacity; and (c) the degree to which individuals adapt or change their desires, particularly in relation to suicidal behaviours.

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