Assisted deaths may soon be a reality for people suffering from mental illness in Canada

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

According to the New York Times, patients suffering from mental illness in Canada will be able to access assisted death under a new law set to take effect in March.

Canada already offers options to terminally and critically ill patients.

Bill C-7, which passed in March 2021, acknowledged that “further consultation and deliberation is needed to determine whether it is appropriate and, if so, to provide those individuals with medical assistance in dying (MAID ) How to provide for those whose only underlying medical condition is a mental illness.”

According to Dying with Dignity Canada, on February 2, 2023, the federal government announced plans to delay MAID eligibility for people whose only medical condition is a mental illness, until March 17, 2024.

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Canada currently provides assisted dying to terminally and terminally ill patients. Now, the country can also offer this practice to people suffering from mental illness. (iStock)

Dying with Dignity Canada is a national human rights charity that says it is committed to improving the quality of dying, protecting end-of-life rights and helping Canadians avoid unwanted suffering.

If the legislation passes, it would make Canada one of about a half-dozen countries that allow the procedure for that type of disease.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his administration have been criticized since the announcement of the new policy, with some members of the Conservative Party accusing the government of promoting a “culture of death.”

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in Ottawa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Tuesday, Oct. 31. (Adrian Wild/The Canadian Press via AP)

An Ipsos poll conducted by Dying with Dignity Canada in 2023 showed that a strong majority of people in Canada, nearly 80%, support the bill.

Proponents claim that denying mentally ill people access to equal humane options to end their suffering amounts to discrimination.

Parliament has delayed adding mental illness as an option for receiving an assisted death for the past three years due to concerns over how they might manage it and said it could be delayed again. Canada’s current assisted dying law only applies to people who are terminally ill or living with a physical disability or chronic, incurable conditions.

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person suffering from alzheimer's

People suffering from mental illness could soon be offered assisted dying in Canada. (iStock)

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized assisted dying, claiming that forcing Canadians to live with unbearable suffering violates fundamental rights to liberty and security.

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More than 13,000 Canadians had assisted deaths last year, a 31% increase from the previous year, according to a report from the federal health ministry. The report revealed that of those numbers, 463 people were not actually terminally ill, but were suffering from other medical conditions.

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According to the Times, a person seeking an assisted death must be evaluated, and their condition must be determined “irreparable.”

Fox News Digital contacted Dying with Dignity Canada for comment on this story, but has not yet received a response.

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