Canadian Mental Health Association opposes “MAiD” euthanasia for psychiatric reasons

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has stated in its submission to the Canadian Institute for Health Research that MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) for psychiatric patients should remain illegal.

The position of the CMHA is:

As a recovery-oriented organization, CMHA does not believe that mental illnesses are irremediable, though they may be grievous or unbearable.

We recognize that people with mental illnesses can experience unbearable psychological suffering as a result of their illness, but there is always the hope of recovery.

CMHA’s position on medical assistance in dying in Canada, is that people with a mental health problem or illness should be assisted to live and thrive.

The CMHA recommended that the government:

  1. Support recovery,
  2. Continue to invest in community mental health and addiction services and supports,
  3. Develop a national suicide prevention strategy,
  4. Invest in research to accurately predict and understand the course of illness in mental health and substance abuse.

In December 2016 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) decided that in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on medical euthanasia, that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.

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