Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 151–157 | Cite as

Four Reasons Why Assisted Dying Should Not Be Offered for Depression

  • Thomas Blikshavn
  • Tonje Lossius Husum
  • Morten Magelssen
Critical Perspectives

Abstract

Recently, several authors have argued that assisted dying may be ethically appropriate when requested by a person who suffers from serious depression unresponsive to treatment. We here present four arguments to the contrary. First, the arguments made by proponents of assisted dying rely on notions of “treatment-resistant depression” that are problematic. Second, an individual patient suffering from depression may not be justified in believing that chances of recovery are minimal. Third, the therapeutic significance of hope must be acknowledged; when mental healthcare opens up the door to admitting hopelessness, there is a danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Finally, proponents of assisted dying in mental healthcare overlook the dangers posed to mental-health services by the institutionalization of assisted dying.

Keywords

Assisted dying Euthanasia Major depression Physician-assisted suicide Treatment-resistant depression 

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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Blikshavn
    • 1
  • Tonje Lossius Husum
    • 2
  • Morten Magelssen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent Mental HealthAkershus University HospitalLørenskogNorway
  2. 2.Centre for Medical Ethics, Institute of Health and SocietyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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