Tuesday, August 8, 2023

"If (MAiD for mental illness) had been around at that time, I wouldn’t be around here today."

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Maria Rantanen reported for the Richmond News on August 7, 2023 that Richmond resident Karim Jessa, a member of the Pathways Clubhouse, is opposing MAiD (euthanasia) for mental illness. Rantanen reports:
In 2017, his marriage had broken down, he had been unemployed for a long time and he had no steady housing.

He had hit rock bottom, and he told the Richmond News it was only because he was a “coward” that he didn’t take his life at that point.

But, since then, he has connected with Pathways Clubhouse and has slowly found meaning in his life, volunteering, working and connecting with people, despite having depression.

“I am a completely new person today,” Jessa said.

“If (MAiD for mental illness) had been around at that time, I wouldn’t be around here today,”

Jessa stated that there is hope for people living with mental illness and when he got the right help for his mental illness, he no longer wanted to die.

Dr. K. Sonu Gaind said in a discussion paper put out by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto that there is no reasonable way to say whether mental illness is irremediable, that is, incurable. Rantanen reported Gaind stating:
“When people with sole mental illness get MAiD, we know some of them would have gotten better, even when we wrongly predicted they wouldn’t (we just won’t know which of these patients would have improved instead of getting MAiD)”
Rantanen explains that the Canadian Coalition of Clubhouses, in which Richmond Pathways Clubhouse is a part of, asked their member groups for their position on euthanasia for mental illness.

Pathway's executive director Dave MacDonald, told Rantanen:
Pathways Clubhouse in Richmond “believes in hope and opportunities for those living with mental illness, cannot support MAiD for persons with mental illness as the sole determining factor,"
MacDonald stated further:
"It would go against all that we believe and hope for with our members.”

Pathways Clubhouse is "about people regaining their lives,” Jessa told the News. “We don’t want to say ‘here’s the easy way out.’”

As an organization that supports people with mental illness, it would be “contradictory” to support MAiD for mental illness, he added.
Dr. Sonu Gaind, chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto told the Parliamentary Committee on Assisted Dying that:

“The Ministers have provided false reassurances that we can somehow separate people who are suicidal from those who are seeking psychiatric euthanasia. That is simply not true. In my opinion, that is dangerous misinformation coming from our federal Minister of Justice and our federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions providing a false sense of safety that does not exist.”
More articles on this topic:


Anonymous said...

I have lived with mental illness for decades. It’s irresponsible and dangerous to offer euthanasia to the mentally ill as we are prone to rash behaviors as part of our illnesses. We need help not death. Mental illness is chronic not incurable as are many other illnesses.

John B said...

During my time as a G.P., I had a very similar patient. IF I remember correctly, he was depressed, had attempted suicide on 1 or 2 occasions, but then recovered. He came to me happily married, was self-employed, and was requesting a mild dose of an amitriptyline for sleep (I believe). At the time, I said to myself, if MAiD was ever proposed, I would NEVER support it based on this one encounter, and for other reasons.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear John B. Please send me an article about your experience. You don't need to share names. Send articles to info@epcc.ca