Saturday, May 22, 2021

Mental health expert opposes euthanasia for mental illness. Based on personal experience, misdiagnosis is a problem.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A mental health expert told the Québec committee hearings on the Evolution of the Act respecting end-of-life care on Friday May 21 that based on her personal experience (MAiD) euthanasia should not be extended to people with mental illness alone.

A Global News report by Raquel Fletcher reported that Dr. Georgia Vrakas, a psychologist and mental health researcher who was diagnosed with bipolar type-2 disorder two weeks ago told the Quebec committee that extending euthanasia to people with mental illness alone is a very bad idea. Fletcher reported:

For more than 20 years, she was mistakenly treated for depression. At one point, things got so bad she called a suicide prevention hotline: “I was that low,” she said.

This is why she said she is against offering medical assistance in dying to patients where mental illness is the sole underlying condition.
Dr Georgina Vrakas
Vrakas told the committee that she is the prime example, that not enough is known about mental illness and situations can turn around. Vrakas hopes that her concerns will be reflected within future legislation. Fletcher reports:
Dr. Vrakas said extending the option to people with severe mental illness would send a message of despair.

“The message we would be sending, the message the government would be sending to people like me, is that there’s no hope,”

The Quebec government and the federal government have both established committee's to examine the further expansion of Canada's euthanasia law.

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