'The one truly serious philosophical problem': Ethical aspects of suicide

Murad M. Khan, Ayesha I. Mian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Suicide is a major global public health problem with an estimated one million deaths every year. It is one of the most personal yet one of the most complex acts anyone can perform, as it goes to the very core of the concept of human existence and the meaning of life. The philosophical debate on suicide has spanned centuries with no clear answers. Juxtaposed within the various perspectives that suicide can be studied from is the ethical perspective that brings into sharp focus the conflict between personal autonomy and societal responsibility towards suicidal individuals. Mental health professionals find themselves in the midst of this conflict as they are assumed to have the responsibility to prevent suicide in their patients, while patients' responsibility towards themselves is frequently overlooked. Mental health professionals need to be aware of the ethical concerns that arise in the care of suicidal patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-293
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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