Homeβ€Ί Politics & Debate
If you need urgent support, call 999 or go to your nearest A&E. To contact our Crisis Messenger (open 24/7) text THEMIX to 85258.
Read the community guidelines before posting ✨

🚨 TW: suicide - Canada to legalise assisted dying for mental illness

JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,207 Part of The Furniture
🚨 TW for discussions of assisted suicide and illness 🚨

Also please note that this isn't a support thread - if you would like support with anything mentioned in this thread or in the linked article, please use one of the Get Support forums. :)

--

So basically Canada is set to legalise assisted suicide for some cases of mental illness.

According to this article from The Independent:
Medical professionals in Canada are divided over a new law that will allow patients suffering severe mental illness to seek medical aid in dying.

From March 2023, Canada will become one of the only countries in the world to allow those who are not in the end stages of a terminal illness to seek medical aid to end their lives.

Opinion is split over whether it’s possible to diagnose if patients suffering illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder face 'realistic prospects of recovery'.
Obviously a divisive one... how do you feel about this?
All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
Amy22sinead276lovemimoon

Comments

  • Amy22Amy22 Posts: 3,789 Community Veteran
    Hi @Mike this is a very interesting thread actually. All in all, I'd say that it is interesting that Canda are going to pass the law on this. I guess in a way it will be quite similar to the euthanasia process. I mean I guess like if someone felt that they didn't have a quality of life then it would be fine. However, I don't know why but I could see this being possibly abused in some way. I feel undecided about this really.
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
    JustV
  • sinead276sinead276 Posts: 956 Part of The Mix Family
    Hmmm I'm not too sure how I feel about this to be honest. I can understand it for physical illnesses where there an individuals quality of life is significantly compromised etc. but I think because I've studied psychology and mental health for so long now I know about the range of options and support available to people with mental illness. But like Amy said, if someone really can't see their quality of life improving and doctors/professionals agree with the final decision then I don't feel like I can judge or stand in the way of it at all. But I also agree with Amy's point that I can see possibilities of people trying to abuse the process a bit.

    So overall I'm not too sure either - but it is an interesting topic to see being discussed in Canada
    JustV
  • lovemimoonlovemimoon Community Champion Posts: 2,318 Boards Champion
    This is quite an interesting topic!
    I guess I could see where they are going with this law and I agree with both what Amy and sinead said here. However, I feel like this could possibly backfire massively.

    A mental health illness is often defined as a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people. It varies from person to person, and the way one might experience may differ from others. It's also important to note that not everyone who is diagnosed with a mental illness understands their experience as an illness or considers it a problem.

    I understand assisted suicide for people with physical illnesses but with mental health illnesses? How exactly is this going to work? What procedures are going to take place to ensure that the person(s) requesting at hand is stable? I ask this question because those who experience suicidal thoughts, ideations and/or tendencies can come from a place where they are struggling. They may not be in the right mind to do something like this.
    If someone is vouching in the place of someone, how would you be able to identify that said person is acting in their best interests?

    There's just a lot of questions and concerns, you know?
    JustV
  • JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,207 Part of The Furniture
    I understand assisted suicide for people with physical illnesses but with mental health illnesses? How exactly is this going to work? What procedures are going to take place to ensure that the person(s) requesting at hand is stable? I ask this question because those who experience suicidal thoughts, ideations and/or tendencies can come from a place where they are struggling. They may not be in the right mind to do something like this.
    Super understandable concern - almost like how do you know if someone's perception is too warped to make that decision in the first place? And do we take someone's perception of reality as actually being their reality? I feel like you can get so tangled in this!

    I also think a lot of your other arguments @lovemimoon could be said of any kind of assisted dying, and they're why these issues are so contentious. Especially the thing about those systems being abused (e.g. by relatives) - I think @Amy22 and @sinead276 highlighted this too.

    The article linked above also raises an interesting point about making sure that, if this goes ahead, it's not used as an alternative to equitable health care. Makes me think about a dystopia where people choose this because the care they need just isn't there. 😐
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
    Amy22
  • Amy22Amy22 Posts: 3,789 Community Veteran
    Mike wrote: Β»
    I understand assisted suicide for people with physical illnesses but with mental health illnesses? How exactly is this going to work? What procedures are going to take place to ensure that the person(s) requesting at hand is stable? I ask this question because those who experience suicidal thoughts, ideations and/or tendencies can come from a place where they are struggling. They may not be in the right mind to do something like this.
    Super understandable concern - almost like how do you know if someone's perception is too warped to make that decision in the first place? And do we take someone's perception of reality as actually being their reality? I feel like you can get so tangled in this!

    I also think a lot of your other arguments @lovemimoon could be said of any kind of assisted dying, and they're why these issues are so contentious. Especially the thing about those systems being abused (e.g. by relatives) - I think @Amy22 and @sinead276 highlighted this too.

    The article linked above also raises an interesting point about making sure that, if this goes ahead, it's not used as an alternative to equitable health care. Makes me think about a dystopia where people choose this because the care they need just isn't there. 😐

    I totally agree, in some ways I can see it being helpful in the case that a person who has a terminal illness. However, I feel like it could be abused especially if people find that mental health aren't very helpful or they struggle finding support. I guess it shows the lack of support there is for people with mental illness, eventhough there should be options for help.
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
    IainJammyboy
  • JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,207 Part of The Furniture
    Amy22 wrote: Β»
    Mike wrote: Β»
    I understand assisted suicide for people with physical illnesses but with mental health illnesses? How exactly is this going to work? What procedures are going to take place to ensure that the person(s) requesting at hand is stable? I ask this question because those who experience suicidal thoughts, ideations and/or tendencies can come from a place where they are struggling. They may not be in the right mind to do something like this.
    Super understandable concern - almost like how do you know if someone's perception is too warped to make that decision in the first place? And do we take someone's perception of reality as actually being their reality? I feel like you can get so tangled in this!

    I also think a lot of your other arguments @lovemimoon could be said of any kind of assisted dying, and they're why these issues are so contentious. Especially the thing about those systems being abused (e.g. by relatives) - I think @Amy22 and @sinead276 highlighted this too.

    The article linked above also raises an interesting point about making sure that, if this goes ahead, it's not used as an alternative to equitable health care. Makes me think about a dystopia where people choose this because the care they need just isn't there. 😐

    I guess it shows the lack of support there is for people with mental illness, even though there should be options for help.
    This is a salient point @Amy22 and something I hadn't fully considered when I wrote this post.
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
    Amy22
  • AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 1,666 Extreme Poster
    Sorry to reply so late, but this is just such an interesting and important topic, i wanted to hop on and read what everyone has to say <3

    The main thing it makes me think of is how much can we draw a parallel between mental and physical health? Is someone with stage 4 terminal cancer comparable to someone with highly treatment-resistant depression?

    I suppose in some ways both people are in a deep pain and want it to be gone, should we see severe mental health needs as more similar to physical health conditions than we currently do?

    (thank you for opening this great discussion, Mike).
    FAQ | How to report a post | How to report spam
    I'm a community moderator. I'm here to help guide discussions and make sure Community Guidelines are followed. I can't send DMs, but you can message @TheMix or email [email protected] with questions or concerns.
    JustVAmy22sinead276
  • Past UserPast User Definition of a mental mess and a certified lost cause :) EnglandPosts: 0 Just got here
    edited January 2023
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
    Amy22AislingDMJustVsinead276
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 Just got here
    edited January 2023
    As a rule, I support euthanasia as a humane way for people to end their lives, avoiding myriad types of unavoidable suffering. Many illnesses are a death sentence, and to me, the idea of "letting nature run its course" and allowing people to suffer is more cowardly than choosing to die. Not to put too fine a point on the whole cowardly thing, I just find a lot of legislation around euthanasia to be irritating and mired in stupidity.

    The main issue I see with euthanasia in general is potential abuse cases. I doubt anyone would choose suicide on a whim, but I believe assisted suicide should be allowed and reserved for cases in which a person is either guaranteed to die, or will continue to live with no quality of life or chance of recovery.

    The question for me then is how different mental illnesses fit into the criteria that I base my beliefs on. Initial thoughts are that they don't fit well, albeit with some incredibly fine nuance given the broad nature of mental illness. I'll use the examples given as a baseline though, and say that illnesses like depression naturally give people a warped perception of reality and of their situation. As such, they can't really be trusted to make any decisions regarding their own chances of recovery... However, they can't be ignored either.

    So given that, a decision on whether or not to allow assisted suicide would have to be made by some kind of medical professional in conjunction with the patient themselves. Yet this is made much more confusing and difficult due to the intangibles involved with mental health. Frankly, even thinking about it begs more complicated questions than I can possibly answer. How can we truly trust an individual's assessment of another individual's mental state? What real terms accountability does someone have for approving an assisted suicide? Are they accountable, or are they shielded from accountability? What guard rails do we have in place to prevent abuse cases? These are difficult questions, but when the stakes are someone's life, they need answers.

    As to the other examples of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia I would need to discuss heavily with others, as I don't have it, and as such it's pretty alien to me in terms of what it must be like to live with. Bipolar disorder seems like precisely the thing that suggests assisted suicide for mental health issues is a terrible, terrible idea. The nature of the mood swings and manic / depressive episodes could have someone committed to assisted suicide and then on the road to recovery in the space of a few weeks.

    I'm happy to entertain all the questions, but it is just an intellectual exercise in the end. In reality, I think it's a terrible idea, while not being completely without merit, because it demands perfect and very clearly defined answers to too many additional questions. I don't know if we can balance the objectivity required to properly work within a framework defined by those answers, with the subjectivity required to do a proper and thorough psychological assessment of an individual. It might be futile to try, and end up causing more harm than good.

    This is the kind of question where it's irresponsible to have absolutely certainty your beliefs though, so I'd never put these thoughts forward as right or wrong. It's been interesting to see what everyone thinks.

    I do have a question to ask everyone off the back of this though. If someone is committed to the idea of taking their life and cannot be deterred, is it right / kind / just to help them do it in the most humane way? I don't have an answer to be honest, but methods of doing it yourself are fucking awful, so is that something we should try to spare people? Maybe that question just calls back to the other 1000 questions I dunno. :S
    Amy22AislingDMJustVPast User
  • JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,207 Part of The Furniture
    edited January 2023
    I do have a question to ask everyone off the back of this though. If someone is committed to the idea of taking their life and cannot be deterred, is it right / kind / just to help them do it in the most humane way? I don't have an answer to be honest, but methods of doing it yourself are fucking awful, so is that something we should try to spare people?
    I know this is a heavy topic but big ethical questions like this are so interesting to think about. I suppose you could imagine a hypothetical situation where you knew, beyond any doubt, that someone was going to end their life, and consider whether this would be the 'better' option.

    I loved reading your post by the way @Supernova - interesting thoughts. :)
    I personally dont understand how you can legalise assisted suicide for mental illness.

    It doesn't really make sense. Because how would you actually know if the person was in a sound mindset to make that decision?
    This is the biggest hurdle in my mind as well @LorryTruck. I guess that's what separates mental illness from physical illness - things like depression can lie to you and warp your reality.

    The linked article also contains a statement from psych professionals who talked about it being impossible to objectively determine how much somebody is suffering, and whether they face 'realistic prospects for recovery', because all you have is someone's story and their words.

    @Supernova you talked about the complications of this too, and I agree that these things feel too foggy given the ultimately irreversible decision being made based on it.
    Allowing them to die is essentially allowing them to give up, which doesn't give a positive influence to others going through similar things. It would give an attitude of giving up rather than trying to get through it.
    This is an interesting angle @LorryTruck - I didn't think about the exmaple-setting / role-modelling side to this. Do you feel that way about people who end their lives in other ways, or is it just the legalisation of this that you think would set an unhelpful example?
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
    Amy22
  • Past UserPast User Definition of a mental mess and a certified lost cause :) EnglandPosts: 0 Just got here
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Past UserPast User Posts: 0 Just got here
    It's a great point @LorryTruck and brings about some interesting thoughts. I would never doubt or judge another person based on their own decisions and situation regarding their life. But you are right to say that collectively, it might put across a dangerous message to others that suicide is the way out of their problems.

    The only hope I could see in this is just a hypothetical one in which on the road to approving an assisted suicide, the individual is pushed to do and consider all sorts of things that might improve their lives. How open would people be to those changes if they were in such a situation? I would like to hope that at their core, most people don't actually want to die, and perhaps in seeking assisted suicide they would realise this and be given the amount of help they clearly need.

    Again, all hypothetical hopes and wishes though, I still think it's a bad idea.
    Past User
  • JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,207 Part of The Furniture
    It's just this. It kind of shows that there is no way out, no road to recovery, no hope. I just don't think it gives the right attitude out towards recovery. It make people think there isn't one.

    It also shows theres no proper mental health support, and doesnt push for the government to make one. Because if they legalise this, there's no hope.
    It's a great point @LorryTruck and brings about some interesting thoughts. I would never doubt or judge another person based on their own decisions and situation regarding their life. But you are right to say that collectively, it might put across a dangerous message to others that suicide is the way out of their problems.
    I get you @LorryTruck @Supernova - like in terms of wider society, it sends a grim message about mental illness and support rather than a hopeful one. I didn't think about this before.
    The only hope I could see in this is just a hypothetical one in which on the road to approving an assisted suicide, the individual is pushed to do and consider all sorts of things that might improve their lives. How open would people be to those changes if they were in such a situation? I would like to hope that at their core, most people don't actually want to die, and perhaps in seeking assisted suicide they would realise this and be given the amount of help they clearly need.
    I think this makes sense, and when I first read the article this is what I thought. Like, on a fundamental freedom level, it feels like it should be on the table for people as an option, but riiiiight at the back of the table, only to be used once everything else has been exhausted. I suppose the issue then is how on earth do you legislate that - feels like a minefield as you said.
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
    Past User
  • Amy22Amy22 Posts: 3,789 Community Veteran
    I'm doing this topic in beliefs & values at school

    I did something quite similar actually when I was in secondary school. Expect I had to do it on the topic of euthanasia and people who are terminally ill and wether it should made legal here in the uk. I actually found this thread very interesting to see what others opinions are on the situation in Canada is like.
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
    Past User
  • JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,207 Part of The Furniture
    What conclusions did you reach @Amy22?
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
  • Amy22Amy22 Posts: 3,789 Community Veteran
    Mike wrote: Β»
    What conclusions did you reach @Amy22?

    Personally on the subject of euthanasia eventhough I know it technically takes away a life and that life itself is precious. I felt that it should be legal because for example if someone was dealing with a terminal illness and there was like no cure or treatment that the person could benefit from and they felt that they themselves had no quality of life then the act itself is justified. Eventhough it being legalised could open the possibility of misuse and abuse of something that could aid someone's pain. I personally think that it is up to the own persons choice whether they make the option to end their life or not. I also belive that if the person has a family that they too should have a say on it too. I feel like it should be done through a courtroom system where you would mention your case and then you could see whether the pros or cons outweigh each other.
    Just a person who likes pop culture and films
    JustV
Sign In or Register to comment.