WASHINGTON, DC, USA, November 2, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) recognizes that the practice of physician aid in dying (PAD) is distinct from the behavior that has been traditionally and ordinarily described as “suicide.” Although there may be overlap between the two categories, legal physician assisted deaths should not be considered to be cases of suicide. A new position statement on the issue from AAS can be found here.

“Many factors create a clear distinction between the two phenomena, including intention, absence of physical self-violence, the physician’s assessment that the patient’s choice is not distorted by mental illness, a personal view of self-preservation versus self-destruction, and by the fact that the person who has requested aid in dying does not typically die alone and in despair, but, most frequently, where they wish, at home, with the comfort of his or her family,” says Margaret Battin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Ethics, at the University of Utah.

AAS does not take a position for or against legalization of PAD; it simply points out that PAD and suicide are distinct behaviors and that the professional and ethical obligations of those involved in suicide prevention may differ. As an organization that seeks to prevent suicide, PAD is outside the scope of AAS’ central mission.

For press and other inquiries, please contact:

Margaret Battin
University of Utah
801-824- 9160

For the media: We urge members of the media to share suicide prevention resources in all of their reports. Responsible reporting on suicide and the inclusion of stories of hope and resilience can prevent more suicides. You can find more information on safe messaging around suicide here.


About AAS: AAS promotes suicide as a research discipline, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.

Colleen Creighton
American Association of Suicidology
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