Year: 2010 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, v.40, no.2, (April 2010), p.159-169 SIEC No: 20100590

The ethical basis of suicide prevention is illustrated by contrasting helpline emergency rescue policies of the Samaritans & the American Association of Suicidology and the United States National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. The authors contrast moralist, relativist, & libertarian ethical premises & question whether suicide can be rational. Samaritans respect a caller’s right to decide to die by suicide; American helplines oblige emergency intervention during an attempt even against the caller’s will. The effect of emergency rescue when there is high suicide risk but an attempt has not been initiated is analyzed. The links between values & actions, & needs for empirical evidence to guide practice are examined. Vigorous dialogue about values in the gray zone of moral practice is proposed. (19 refs.) JA