‘As psychiatrists we prevent suicide, we don’t provide it’

Euthanasia has no place in medicine, especially for patients with mental illness, a top psychiatrist has said.

Dr Mark Komrad, who previously served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Ethics Committee, spoke out about the dangers of euthanasia in the Duke University School of Medicine’s Alumni Magazine.

Assisted suicide is legal in several US states, and in some countries, such as The Netherlands, those with mental illness can also be helped to kill themselves.


Dr Komrad wrote: “I found it profoundly disturbing that in Belgium and the Netherlands, a significant number of psychiatric patients every year are voluntarily euthanized by their own treating psychiatrists”.

“I feel that killing does not belong in the house of medicine, should not be a part of palliative care, and especially not for psychiatric patients. Psychiatrists prevent suicide, not provide it.”

Dr Komrad has spoken several times about the issue, previously addressing the parliaments of Sweden and Norway and acting as a consultant to the Canadian government.

Psychiatrists prevent suicide, not provide it.


In February, a Dutch mental health patient shared how she was “overwhelmed and angry” when her new psychiatrist offered her euthanasia during their first appointment.

Manon, who was seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder, was instead told she met the criteria to be euthanised.

She said: “I was suicidal, but I was looking for the help that I had actually never obtained – help for the core of my deepest pain and sorrow, my trauma, my post-traumatic stress disorder”.

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