The Mentally Ill Should Be Allowed to End Their Lives
Kelly Burch
367

The challenge it seems to me is the many different manifestations and complexities of mental illness. For someone with chronic treatment-resistant depression, I completely get your point of view. For someone in the middle of a transient psychotic episode — perhaps their first one where the response to treatment is as-yet unknown, it would probably be a premature choice. I’ve had to intervene with a family member looking for painless ways to commit suicide who might have chose euthenasia, but then through intensive treatment across multiple modalities, is now functional and enjoying life.

It is a matter of personal agency, but by definition most mental illnesses affect clear thinking at least from time to time — so how do we prevent a wave of impulsive suicides that resulted from what would have been a relatively brief episode in the broader sweep of someone’s life. Safeguards could perhaps be put in place but when I think about it, either sweeping authority is given to people in one or more roles to make decisions on their behalf, or we wind up with thousands of pages of regulations attempting to be prescriptive about rights in every imaginable scenario.

I don’t presume to have answers, I’m still asking questions, and I appreciate you putting it out there. Thanks.

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