The impact of assisted dying on suicidality: a synthetic control analysis of population suicide rates
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Adoption of assisted dying is growing, but one argument against these policies is that they cause a suicide contagion, thus increasing suicides. Evidence for the assisted dying-suicide link does not currently exist, and in general, research is scarce. I add to this body of literature to help stakeholders understand the consequences of such policies. I performed a time series study to determine how suicide rates changed in Belgium after assisted dying was introduced in 2002. The synthetic control method was chosen for the analysis, and additional European nations were included as placebos. The results show no change in suicide rates following the assisted dying policy change. A comparison of MSPE ratios with placebo countries also suggest statistical insignificance (p = 0.29). I conclude that there is no evidence that Belgium’s assisted dying policy is associated with a change in suicide rates or a suicide contagion.