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Euthanising for mental health sends dangerous message to those most vulnerable

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The BBC has reported on the tragic case of a troubled 29-year-old woman, Aurelia Brouwers who obtained voluntary euthanasia in a bid to escape her struggles with depression and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

One Dutch expert interviewed for the report criticised euthanasia as ‘not normal’ and says its practitioners have 'made a profession of killing'. Dr Frank Koerselman, speaking of the gravitation toward euthanasia as an ideology argues psychiatrists should never support patients in their expression of desires to end their lives. Dr Koerselman says:

"It is possible not to be contaminated by their lack of hope. These patients lost hope, but you can stay beside them and give them hope. And you can let them know that you will never give up on them."

While exploring the sad story of Aurelia Brouwers, the BBC report also speaks with Monique Arend - a lady diagnosed with the same psychiatric disorder as Aurelia. Despite many failed suicide attempts and previously filling out the papers for euthanasia, Monique eventually found the help and support she needed to get through her mental traumas.

Adele Huxley, who campaigns against assisted suicide and euthanasia, is in recovery from the same condition (BPD) and has worked in a recovery centre for people with the illness.

She commented:

“It is tragic that medical professionals would give up on someone like Aurelia rather than persevere with treatment. By enabling her to end her life, society sends the dangerous and untrue message that life for someone with borderline personality disorder is hopeless and their life is not worth living.

I’ve seen so much change in my life, through both treatment programs and Christian discipleship. Legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide would only lead to more people like Aurelia – and like me – being refused treatment and abandoned by society.”

Euthanasia and assisted suicide remain illegal in all parts of the United Kingdom. Despite frequent attempts to see the practice introduced, all such efforts have been rejected by parliamentarians. Guernsey’s government recently voted against allowing an ‘assisted dying’ clinic in its territory.

However, 2016 saw 47 British citizens travel to Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas to end their lives.

We should sympathise with the vulnerable and those with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Sympathy, however, does not mean enabling people to kill themselves. Sympathy means providing help and hope to avoid, not commit suicide. Sympathy does not mean replacing helplines for the suicidal, like Samaritans,with ‘help’ to commit suicide like Dignitas.

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