This story is quite pertinent to the trend among some in society to dismiss suicide prevention as paternalistic, and to promote assisted suicide for even the mentally ill. Treatment for depression reduces suicide attempts:
Promoting “rational suicide” and facilitation for some won’t help in treating these despairing people. It would be like society telling teenagers that they, maybe, probably shouldn’t smoke, but if they—choose cigarettes with a filter.
The study, in the American Journal of Psychiatry, involved an analysis of 70,368 depressed patients prescribed an antidepressant drug by a primary care physician, 7297 prescribed an antidepressant by a psychiatrist, and 54,123 treated with psychotherapy.
Medical claims were reviewed to assess the occurrence of suicide attempts 90 days before and 180 days after beginning treatment. In all three groups, the rate of suicide attempts was highest in the pre-treatment period, followed by the 30-day period after starting treatment. Beyond 30 days, the likelihood of suicide attempts continued to fall.
The investigators found that teenagers and young adults had the highest suicide attempt rates, but the trends related to treatment were the same as in other age groups.