Mail Online 19 February 2014
Women, highly educated, divorced and rich people are more likely to die from assisted suicide, new research has revealed.
Researchers in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal, found that of people helped by right-to-die organisations such as Dignitas, around 16 per cent of death certificates did not register an underlying cause.
They say this indicates that an increasing number of people may simply becoming ‘weary of life’.
The research, published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology – that shows assisted suicide is more common in women, the divorced, those living alone, the more educated, those with no religious affiliation, and those from wealthier areas.
A previous study of suicides by two right-to-die organizations showed that 25 per cent of those assisted had no fatal illness, instead citing ‘weariness of life’ as a factor.
In this study, researchers from the University of Bern looked at anonymous data on 1,301 cases of assisted suicide between 2003 and 2008, provided by three right-to-die organisations.
In 84 per cent of cases, the death certificates listed at least one underlying cause of death.
In the age group, 25-64 years the majority had cancer (57 per cent), followed by diseases of the nervous system (21 per cent).
Eleven people had a mood disorder listed as the first underlying cause, and three had another mental or behavioural disorder.