by Care Alliance, 13 July 2017
#2 Are people with mental illness in or out?
- David Seymour’s Bill states that a person is eligible for euthanasia and assisted suicide who suffers from “a grievous and irremediable illness”. This will include people with a mental illness.
- Euthanasia in the Netherlands, which also requires that a “patient’s suffering is lasting and unbearable”, now includes those suffering from psychiatric disorders. In 2016, 60 cases of euthanasia were for psychiatric disorders and 141 cases of dementia.
- “Rarely in those societies with liberalised assisted dying laws are psychiatrists involved in the decision-making for individuals requesting early death. This role is fulfilled by non-specialists.” (Macleod, Sandy. “Assisted dying in liberalised jurisdictions and the role of psychiatry: A clinician’s view.” Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 46.10 (2012): 936-945).
- Legalising either euthanasia or assisted suicide in the current New Zealand context where it is readily acknowledged that specialist mental health and addiction services “are experiencing increasing pressure” (p. 3) places a significantly large number of vulnerable people (162,222 in 2015) in an extremely risky situation
Conclusion: Persons with mental health conditions would be eligible under the David Seymour Bill.