In 1997 the state of Oregon, in the U.S. passed the Death with Dignity Act allowing doctors to assist terminally-ill patients to die. There are several safeguards in the Act to ensure patients are competent to make the decision to end their own life including referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist if there is a concern that a patient's judgement might be impaired due to mental illness but in 2007 none of the 46 people who died in this way were evaluated by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University assessed 58 people who were terminally ill and who had requested physician-assisted suicide. 13 of the participants met the criteria for anxiety and 15 of them met the criteria for depression, of whom 3 eventually ended their life. The researchers called for increased vigilance for mental-health problems among people seeking euthanasia although supporters of the practice argued that depression did not automatically affect people's competence to make a decision about assisted suicide.
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