End of Life bill

Kapiti News - - Letters To The Editor -

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


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