Tuesday, July 27, 2021

A personal story: No to euthanasia for mental health reasons

We received this email from Margaret titled: No Euthanasia for Mental Health Reasons. She gave us permission to publish it.

As I am now approaching 70 years of age, I would like to share my experience

Ever since I was twelve years old, I have been treated by psychiatrists, and many other people in the mental health system.

For over thirty-eight years, I considered myself to have active suicidal intentions. My years in my mid-twenties were my worst. At that time, if euthanasia for only mental health reasons was accepted, I would have applied and not be here now.

However, as my life continued, it increasingly improved. Although there have been some occasional challenges, my life now is excellent and I really appreciate being alive to live it.

I would never have enjoyed this time or attended my nephew's wedding, or met my two great-nieces and my great-nephew if I had asked for and been granted euthanasia over forty years ago.

Sometimes, I still do struggle, but I have supports in place and life is definitely worth the living.

I would NOT have wanted to miss any of my life so far and I look forward to my future.

Thank you Margaret for sharing. It is not easy to write about your experiences.

  • A case against assisted suicide for mental illness (Link).
  • Euthanasia for people with psychiatric disorders is dangerous (Link).

16 comments:

dougsned said...

"that time, if euthanasia for only mental health reasons was accepted, I would have applied and not be here now."

Does the author think you can just walk into a clinic in the Netherlands and receive assisted suicide just like that? This isn't even close to the reality. As a matter of fact the overwhelming majority of requests for MAID on the basis of mental illness is denied in the NL, despite what this author and Alex want you to think.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Margaret is not from the Netherlands and she is not commenting on the Netherlands. She is saying that she experienced a long term suicidal ideation and if it had been available she would have asked for it and since her condition was persistent she would have qualified.

dougsned said...

"and since her condition was persistent she would have qualified."

That isn't enough by itself. Doctors have to agree that you have exhausted all reasonable attempts at treatment.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Your right and wrong.
The person must attempt effective treatments and attempt to get better, but if their wish to die is persistent and they have tried all effective treatments, they will qualify and die.

dougsned said...

And has the person in question exhausted all effective treatments? I'm going to take a gamble and say no. Very few requests for assisted suicide on mental health grounds are approved with the vast majority being denied.

Alex Schadenberg said...

I think you missed the point of Margaret's story.
She is happy to be alive today.
If it assisted death were available when she was at her low time, she wouldn't be here.
She didn't suggest that it would be imposed on her.
She didn't suggest that it would be done willy nilly.
She did suggest that she would have wanted it and whether you like it or not, she may have qualified and died and then missed the happiest part of her life.

The reason I published the story is that Margaret isn't the only one who has experienced this and she is speaking to others who are at the low point in their life.

Tershia said...

I often wonder who mentally sound the people actually are who advocate for other people to commit suicide or euthanasia!

dougsned said...

"I think you missed the point of Margaret's story."

Why did you sidestep my question? I asked if the person in question has exhausted all effective treatments. You speak of it as a guarantee when it isn't.

Let's assume that Margaret however would have qualified for arguments sake. We know from studies done on assisted-suicide for mental health reasons in the NL that most people who've recieved it for that reason have a history of prior suicide attempt(s), and that the majority of those who were approved do not rescind their request (the percentage is roughly the same as people approved for PAS for non-mental health reasons). This argument is the same as the one calling for abortion to remain banned because cases exist where women are glad they didn't abort but would've had it been legal. It ignores the fact that the great majority of women who aborted do not regret their choice.

And so the same applies here. This story does not outweigh the greater number of those who are glad for such an option to exist.

Unknown said...

Apparently you don't fully comprehend what is happening with assisted suicide in some countries. It is basically legalization of murder in my opinion. People are being put to death in the name of assisted suicide but not with a persons actual consent in some cases

Anonymous said...

The truth is that assisted suicide is wrong. If we value human life, we should value ALL human life, including the unborn, the elderly, the disabled, and the mentally ill.

When I was 19, I had a boyfriend who stopped seeing me. I was in love with him, and my emotional pain was unbearable at the time. I would have committed suicide, but being a Catholic, I believed in hell, and didn't want to end up there. That was the only thing that stopped me. Fortunately, with time, a person can recover from a broken heart. Logically, it would have been very foolish to take my life; the person I lived for cared only about himself. I guess I thought that if I died, at least he would feel remorse. But emotions are not rational. We must help people to value their life, even if they don't, and to realize that suicide is wrong. Life after death is real; death is not the end of everything.

dougsned said...

And to me it has everything to do with autonomy and liberty. It's my life, my body, and my choice. Not yours, or whatever god you believe in. Having no choice in my birth I'd like to have a choice on how I die.

"People are being put to death in the name of assisted suicide but not with a persons actual consent in some cases"

Are you referring to advance directives in cases of dementia? Those are made when the person was competent. It's not without consent or involuntary.

dougsned said...

Advance directives are not without consent.

StephenVK said...

I must say, to Dougsned, that the difference between euthanasia and abortion, is that there isn't an opportunity to express regret after being euthanized. Hence, the point of Margaret's story - if she had received euthanasia, she would have missed out on what she is now experiencing as a satisfying life. She is glad that euthanasia wasn't available during a prolonged, very low time where she DID persistently wish to die.

dougsned said...

"I must say, to Dougsned, that the difference between euthanasia and abortion, is that there isn't an opportunity to express regret after being euthanized. Hence, the point of Margaret's story - if she had received euthanasia, she would have missed out on what she is now experiencing as a satisfying life. She is glad that euthanasia wasn't available during a prolonged, very low time where she DID persistently wish to die."

The great majority of requests for euthanasia regarding severe refractory mental illnesses are not rescinded in the Netherlands. And the great majority of women who have received abortions do not regret it despite what you might have heard:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953619306999

That is actual science. It is my own choice, not yours.

dougsned said...

Why won't you publish my reply to Stephen, Alex?

Alex Schadenberg said...

Sorry, I was busy for a few days and missed the comments.