Canada will soon offer assisted suicide to the mentally ill

canada-will-soon-offer-assisted-suicide-to-the-mentally-ill

Were you aware !

I think part of the problem with this is that mental illness can sometimes be a reaction to a sick society or negative environment; in fact it probably is, at least partly, most of the time.

For example, if I'm not mistaken, WHO studies found that in close-knit communities in 3rd world countries, people diagnosed with schizophrenia typically recovered, or at least symptoms abated to the point where they could function, within a couple years of diagnosis, which is in stark contrast to the trend for the prognosis of schizophrenia in first world countries. From what I understand, this is thought to be due to greater familial and emotional support and less stigma in such communities. In tribal societies, schizophrenia is close to non-existent.

Most mental illnesses, even those such as schizophrenia which can impair a person's ability to function, have a strong emotional component. That's to say that the more stress and the less emotional support a person has, the worse their symptoms. This suggests that they may be treatable with greater psychosocial support, which many societies are just not equipped to provide. Instead, drugs which immediately ease symptoms, but which have waning efficacy &, in some cases, debilitating side effects over the long term, are favored. There may be other treatments which are more compassionate as well as more effective, but they're not being thoroughly explored or investigated.

There are a lot of young people who are being put on psychotropic medications right now, sometimes heavy-duty meds that can cause obesity, diabetes, & other harmful health (& emotional) effects. Are you gonna tell me that when they get older, and they feel as though their conditions are no longer treatable, and they are seized by a sense of hopelessness, they may very well see the option of suicide condoned by society, health authorities, and the govt? And they might easily accept this without getting the chance to seek more truly healing treatments and therapeutic relationships, and then might miss out on realizing their potential or achieving a deeper kind of fulfillment and joy that is usually accessible to highly sensitive people, if difficult to achieve given the daily rat race?

I'm not slamming the use of medication across the board, although I think that psychology and psychiatry ARE soft sciences, and diagnoses of mental illnesses are typically descriptive rather than conclusive, and prescribing meds is often a crapshoot to some degree, because for one thing, there's such a high degree of variability between individuals--personality & emotions are just too complex. No definitive "chemical imbalances" have been identified the way specific signs of other diseases (cancer, diabetes) have been, even if certain chemicals are associated with certain moods. A drug might help ease somebody's psychological or emotional distress, yes, but because psychiatric drugs are usually following this faulty "imbalance" theory, which for one thing doesn't adequately factor in environmental influences or life events, they probably don't work as effectively as they could if they were specifically designed and employed to lift moods or soothe nerves. Exceptions might be certain depression or anxiety medications, but even those are always presented as correcting "imbalances." Ecstasy was first used for therapeutic purposes, and so was laudanum, a weaker version of morphine which was once freely available, but these are now prohibited.

To be clear, I don't use drugs, and I don't think people should self-administer street drugs to treat mental illness, because for one thing, you're not sure what's in them, but I do think that if we really wanted to treat mental illnesses effectively, we would be open to exploring other kinds of drugs that are potentially more suitable, and not necessarily for the entire duration of people's lives but during periods of intense distress.

There are many reasons why the law doesn't allow this, including a kind of puritanical stance towards drugs. This long, long rant is just to say that there are many reasons, IMO, why accepting suicide as a solution to mental illness is a bad idea. That's not to say that the decision to live or die shouldn't be made freely. But one of the reasons why society frowns on suicide is that there are certain kinds of fulfillment that may not be happiness or peace but that are meaningful, worthwhile and bring joy in other ways. A sense of service, perseverence, spiritual reflection...all of these require struggle and emotional discomfort. I don't necessarily have the answers here, but I do think that suicide precludes even asking questions.

Edited to fix the many sloppy typos...sorry, talk to text.

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