End of Life bill
Thank you to Ellie Whitaker (Oct 3) for sharing her confusion about assisted dying under the End of Life Choice Bill, and teen suicide prevention. However, I’d like to explain how and why assisted dying is very different from suicide.
The End of Life Choice Bill, if it’s passed, will be for terminally ill people who have less than six months to live, or who have a very serious incurable illness (for example, motor neuron disease) and who are already in an advanced state of decline and who are experiencing unbearable suffering that can’t be relieved. They have to be examined by two, sometimes three, doctors, and they must be mentally competent throughout.
By contrast, young people take their own lives because they get overwhelmed by feelings they don’t know how to handle, and by life’s problems: bullying, friendship and relationship problems, gender and sexuality issues, pressures of study and finding work, alcohol and drug problems, money stresses, family issues, low self-esteem, mental health problems, and so on.
Teenagers sometimes find it impossible to imagine a future beyond the black hole they’re in right now, and males especially find it hard to talk about their feelings. And because young people live in the present, they tend to be impulsive, so suicide can seem like a solution to their problems. But life is way too precious to be thrown away, and as a community, we owe it to our teens to give them all the help and support we possibly can. OLIVE MITCHELL