Suicide Registry

I contend that competent adults have a right to determine when they want to die, but that we have an interest in preventing impulsive suicide whenever possible.

Several states now allow physicians to assist with suicide (death with dignity) in terminally ill patients who pass a kind of competence evaluation. I wrote before about the tragedy of Robin Williams’ suicide, carried out alone like most suicides.

I believe if we alter laws relating to suicide we can reduce the number of suicides carried out alone as well as impulsive suicides. I propose establishment of a state suicide registry. The individual who registered intent to end their life would undergo voluntary evaluation to establish mental competence to make the choice to die. As in testamentary capacity evaluation they would demonstrate knowledge of the impact on family and distribution of personal assets. We could encourage them to discuss the plan with friends and family who might even choose to accompany them at their time of departure from this world. Counselors could help them choose a method. If they suffered from mental or physical illness we could educate them about available treatment.

At the end of an arbitrary period of time, say about two weeks, we would guarantee them freedom to end their lives without interference.

Who knows? Maybe by alleviating the fear that we would label anyone who wants to die as crazy and lock them up, and by thus providing an atmosphere of respect that might encourage open discussion with significant others, we can reduce the overall number of suicides, and better yet, reduce the number of murder-suicides.

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