Ethical Considerations of Adolescent Suicide (pp. 123-129)
Authors: (Marlene Belew Huff, Division of Adolescent Medicine and Young Parent programs, Kentucky Clinic, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America)
Abstract: Suicide is a complex and a poorly understood phenomenon, especially with regard to
adolescents. From an ethics perspective, attitudes toward suicide have paralleled societal
evolution. Among mental health practitioners, suicide is a not easily solved, multifaceted
problem that requires a multi-disciplinary approach for its prevention. In western
countries, the ethical debate about suicide is centered on issues of personal autonomy and
freedom instead of mental health professionals/responsibility towards suicidal
individuals, while in developing countries the issues are connected to macro-level
dilemmas like equity, justice and social condition related to psychological distress and
suicidal acts. This chapter is meant for mental health and other professionals whose work
is concerned with youth who are suicidal. Youth suicide within the context of broad
ethical concerns include: the evolution of ethical concepts in relation to youth; autonomy
versus societal responsibility toward others; clinical and ethical issues in management of
suicidal clients and problems related to suicide prevention in diverse cultural settings.
The author‘s focus is on intentional death rather than euthanasia (active or passive) or
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