Background: Medical assistance in dying (MAiD) sparks debate in several countries, some of which allow or plan to allow MAiD where a mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition (MAiD-MD). Since MAiD-MD is becoming permissible in a growing number of jurisdictions, there is a need to better understand the moral concerns related to this option. Gaining a better understanding of the moral concerns at stake is a first step towards identifying ways of addressing them so that MAiD-MD can be successfully introduced and implemented, where legislations allow it.

Methods: Thus, this article aims (1) to better understand the moral concerns regarding MAiD-MD, and (2) to identify potential solutions to promote stakeholders’ well-being. A qualitative thematic review was undertaken, which used systematic keyword-driven search and thematic analysis of content. Seventy-four publications met the inclusion criteria.

Results: Various moral concerns and proposed solutions were identified and are related to how MAiD-MD is introduced in 5 contexts: (1) Societal context, (2) Healthcare system, (3) Continuum of care, (4) Discussions on the option of MAiD-MD, (5) MAiD-MD practices. We propose this classification of the identified moral concerns because it helps to better understand the various facets of discomfort experienced with MAiD-MD. In so doing, it also directs the various actions to be taken to alleviate these discomforts and promote the well-being of stakeholders.

Conclusion: The assessment of MAiD-MD applications, which is part of the context of MAiD-MD practices, emerges as the most widespread source of concern. Addressing the moral concerns arising in the five contexts identified could help ease concerns regarding the assessment of MAiD-MD.


Favron-Godbout Caroline, Racine Eric. Medical assistance in dying for people with mental disorders: A comprehensive thematic review, BMC Medical Ethics. 24, 86 (2023). DOI: 10.1186/s12910-023-00971-4.