Assisted Dying may soon be a reality for those suffering from mental illness in Canada

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

According to the new law that will come into force in March, patients suffering from mental health problems in Canada would have the opportunity to receive an assisted death, reports the New York Times.

Canada already offers an opportunity for terminally and chronically ill patients.

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

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

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Canada currently offers assisted dying for terminally and chronically ill patients. Now the country can also offer the practice to those suffering from mental health problems. (iStock)

Dying With Dignity Canada is a national human rights organization that says it is committed to improving the quality of death, protecting rights at the end of life and helping Canadians avoid unwanted suffering.

If passed, the bill would make Canada one of about half a dozen countries to allow the procedure for this type of illness.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his administration have been criticized for the new policy since its announcement, 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 spoke in Ottawa

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

An Ipsos poll commissioned by Dying With Dignity Canada in 2023 showed that the largest majority in Canada, nearly 80%, support the bill.

Proponents argue that giving people with mental illness the same human opportunity to end their suffering is discrimination.

Parliament has delayed adding mental illness to the eligibility for assisted dying for the past three years because of concerns about how it could be treated, adding that it could be delayed again. Canada’s current assisted dying law only applies to people who are terminally ill or have physical disabilities or chronic, terminal illnesses.

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A man with Alzheimer's disease

Assisted dying may soon be offered to those suffering from mental illness in Canada. (iStock)

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

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According to a report by the federal Department of Health, more than 13,000 Canadians died assisted last year, a 31% increase over the previous year. The report showed that of these numbers, 463 people were not terminally ill but suffered from other illnesses.

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According to the Times, a person seeking assisted dying would have to be evaluated and their condition determined to be “incurable.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Dying with Dignity Canada for comment on this story, but has not yet heard back.

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