The report below is copied from the website of World Radio Switzerland (http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/wrsnews/study-assisted-suicide-helpers-distressed.shtml?32735). Switzerland is home to Dignitas, a business that provides assisted suicide to people who travel there from all over the world. It is common for the person committing suicide to bring someone from their family or a friend to witness his death. The study examined the psychological effects on those witnesses.
Thursday, 4 October, 2012, 14:43
Study: Assisted suicide helpers distressed
One in four people who accompany someone to commit assisted suicide suffer massive psychological distress, according to a new study by the University of Zurich.
Researchers at the university spoke to 85 people who went with a family member or close friend to an EXIT euthanasia clinic.
A quarter suffered from post traumatic stress disorder while 16 percent had depression. Five percent were found to have long-term grief.
The interviews were carried out one to two years after the assisted death of loved ones.
The results state that problems can surface 14 to 24 months later and that a death not from natural causes was a heavy burden for those who supported the deceased.
Although the research didn’t include a direct comparison with the effects of a natural death on a loved one, the study was compared to others.
This showed the researchers that post traumatic stress disorder was more common for people close to an assisted suicide case rather than a natural death.
The results have been published in the October issue of the journal European Psychiatry.