Mental illness should never be a death sentence

National Newswatch

Margaret Eaton

Anyone living with mental illness knows it can absolutely be grievous and even unbearable. However, what sets mental illness apart from all other types of suffering is that there always remains the hope of recovery. That’s why the Senate’s amendment to C-7, the assisted dying bill, is so concerning.

People with a mental health problem or illness need assistance to live and thrive, not hasten death. . . [Full text]

MAID for mental illness opens dangerous doors

Hamilton Spectator

K. Sonu Gaind, Sephora Tang

Last week the Canadian Senate voted to recommend a “sunset clause” on the exclusion of mental illness as a sole eligibility criterion for medical assistance in dying (MAID).

If ratified by the House of Commons, within 18 months people suffering solely from a mental illness will be able to request MAID. Some argue that prohibiting access to MAID for mental illness is unconstitutional and discriminatory. Unfortunately that claim is based on a superficial notion that anything being treated differently reflects undue discrimination. In reality, significant differences exist between illnesses that are mental in nature and those that are physical, such that removal of this prohibition would be more than merely discriminatory, it will be fatal for those who most need protection and care within a protective legal framework. . . [Full text]

American Psychiatric Association Position on Medical Euthanasia

 Mark S. Komrad, MD

Early in December 2016, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees passed an historic Position Statement that originated in the Assembly and was unanimously supported by the APA Ethics Committee:

The APA, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on Medical Euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.

This position is now one of the strongest of any medical organization in the world regarding the practice of physician-assisted suicide by prescription medication or euthanasia by lethal injection (PAS/E) for those with non- terminal conditions. This is not just a theoretical possibility that might occur along a slippery slope following legalization of PAS/E for terminal illnesses. People with non-terminal illnesses have been legally euthanized at their own request in several countries for nearly 15 years. This has included certain eligible patients who have only psychiatric disorders. . .  [Full text]