Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2023). 23, 1-8. DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12985 SIEC No: 20231955
Introduction: This study explores the assessments of mental health clinicians working with suicidal patients who requested access to medical assistance in dying (MAiD). Methods: A sample of convenience completed an online questionnaire about their experiences with suicidal patients. Respondents described their encounters with 227 suicidal patients: 44 requested access to MAiD, and 183 did not. Data were analyzed using chi-squared and simple t-test to identify differences between the respondents' descriptions of the two groups. Results: Results noted differences between patients who experience suicide ideation and request MAiD (SPM), and those who experience suicide ideation and do not (SP). Overall, the SPM group was older, more physical health concerns, chronic pain, existential distress, and less hope. Many had experienced several episodes of mental health care and medication trials, though unlike the SP group, they had a split between accessing a little care and a lot of care. They also engaged in less suicide planning, and some had no history of suicide attempts. Conclusion: It is important that mental health clinicians learn to differentiate between MAiD requests due to an ongoing and irremediable mental disorder, and MAiD requests in response to circumscribed psychological suffering that could be relieved via a change in circumstances and/or access to different treatment options amenable to the patient.