Medical assistance in dying should not be extended to patients with mental illness: expert – Montreal


The National Assembly of Quebec is studying the idea of ​​expanding Quebec laws on medical assistance in dying (MA).

They are considering extending the option to people with severe mental illness, but on Friday a mental health expert explained why she thought it was a very bad idea.

READ MORE: Quebec to expand assisted dying to include the mentally ill, but few should be eligible

Psychologist and mental health researcher Dr. Georgia Vrakas was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder two weeks ago.

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

That is why she has spoken out against offering medical assistance in dying to patients whose only underlying condition is mental illness.

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Dr Vrakas said she is proof that things can change and that not enough is known about mental illness. She said more investment is needed in research and health services.

“All governments have cut mental health and mental health promotion and (suicide) prevention services, which is essential,” she said.

READ MORE: Physician-Assisted Dying: Do Doctors Need to Know More About Canada’s New Law?

A special committee of the National Assembly is studying the idea of ​​expanding Quebec laws on medical assistance in dying.

They looked at issues such as prior consent for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but Dr Vrakas said extending the option to people with severe mental illness would send a message of desperation.

“The message we would send, the message the government would send to people like me, is that there is no hope,” she said.

Dr Vrakas hopes his concerns will be taken into account in future legislation.

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