Friday, January 21, 2022

Depression and euthanasia

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    There has been a political debate sparked by the recent assisted suicide of a depressed man by a well known supporter of euthanasia here in Australia.

    I found this article interesting in that Dr Nitschke said;

    “I don’t think we should define that person as sick and certainly we shouldn’t be sending him off to a psychiatrist.”

    I wonder about this statement. Shouldn’t be sending a person who wishes to die by their own hand off to a psychiatrist? I’d really like to hear Dr Nitschke expand on that.

    There have been moves to have Dr Nitschke deregistered.

    “I find it staggering he did not recognise that the vast majority of mental illnesses, with correct help, can have incredibly good outcomes,” Mr Mitchell said.

    I’d like to see that statement backed up with some evidence too. Has this guy seen what happens to people who are stuffed into the meat grinder of the mental health system? Vast majority? Good outcomes?

    I’ll follow the debate and post any further information that comes up.


    In The Netherlands the debate about euthanasia in psychiatry also awakened after continued push from the profession to expand the ability for psychiatrists to euthanize patients.

    The rise in euthanasia in psychiatry actually started in 2010 and was preceded by a media and political lobby campaign by the Dutch Assosiation of Psychiatry (NVvP) wherein psychiatrists advocated that they should be allowed to euthanize patients.

    The politicians in The Netherlands appeared not in favor of euthanasia in psychiatry which resulted in a form of political stamp foot behavior (extortion tactic) from the Dutch Association of Psychiatry when they issued a guideline for psychiatry to release severely depressed patients with a death wish to commit suicide outside the institution.

    The Dutch Association of Psychiatry gave the following notion in the media regarding the guideline that shows the extortion motive:

    [quote]“Psychiatrists have few opportunities to assist in suicide, especially with involuntarily committed patients and must fall back on controversial treatment options such as lockup in an isolation cell for multiple years or electroshock.”[/quote]

    To show how serious this guideline was, hereby a quote from the director of the trade union of driving staff Wim Eilert in a response to the guideline:

    “This is an wrong signal. Every year 200 people jump in front of a train in the Netherlands. These are horrific experiences for drivers and conductors. Some people never return to work. Therefore suicide on the railroad should be reduced as much as possible. When psychiatric institutions are letting patients go to commit suicide outside, some of them will jump in front of a train because it is a sure way to death.” (source)

    The guideline tactic proved effective. In 2010, the year of the guideline, 2 euthanasia requests were approved. In 2011 the number grew to 13 and in 2013 the number had grown to 42 patients.

    I personally believe that it is wrong to allow psychiatry to euthanize patients because the hopeless nature of the problems may be caused largely by psychiatry.

    The chronicity of problem start with the fundamental idea on which psychiatry is based: the idea that the human mind and emotions are the result of accidental chemistry in the brains. This idea implies – among vulnerable people in a crisis – that life is meaningless. That is not helpful for someone who needs to learn to fight to overcome problems. If you experience life as coincidence and meaningless you can desire feelings of happiness as much as you want, but then the chances that you will obtain them are small.

    Life is a fight, you can not float to success on a cloud. If life would be good as it was there would be no reason to exist.

    According to prof. J.J.L. Derksen, professor of psychotherapy, psychiatrists do not have the knowledge to help people well.

    “Applying DSM labels and following a protocol is the adage. The complexity inherent in psychological problems and the treatment is completely absent and gets hardly a chance in the training of psychiatrists.”

    There are strong indications that psychiatry exacerbates problems and makes them chronic. That makes it unethical to allow psychiatrists euthanize patients, even though there may be situations where people may want to choose to end their life while their body is psychically healthy. The fact that – given the fierce criticism of psychiatry by many scholars – it can not be ruled out that psychiatry has provided inadequate care or even had a harmful influence on the opinion and decision making of an individual, makes it unethical to allow psychiatrists to euthanize patients.

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 6 months ago by arjan.
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    How interesting Arjan.

    I’ve always admired the way that the Dutch seem prepared to discuss difficult topics and issues openly.

    What I’ve noticed here in Australia is the large numbers of people who are released from hospital and kill themselves within one day of being released. 25% of suicides associated with mental health within a year. I have a couple of theories as to why.

    1. That when released it is preferable to kill oneself rather than be subjected to a life of never being free to make any choices for yourself again. One in the system you never get out, and can be regularly detained on the whim of a nurse.

    2. There is a method used by surgeons who are aware that patients on the operating table are going to die. In stead of having to bother with all the paperwork they quickly stitch them up and have them wheeled into the corridor to die. This means that they did not die in theater, and therefore the paperwork problem is someone else s. I think the same is occurring in our mental health facilities. If a patient is determined to kill themselves, it’s better to release them to do it elsewhere, and avoid the paperwork.

    I think the example that you mention above about patients throwing themselves in front of trains kind of covers this aspect.

    I know that my problems were a direct result of the criminal action of a mental health worker. I pointed this out to a psychiatrist, who confirmed that this was the case. In his words the intervention was “a major contributing factor” to my attempted suicide. I asked him to provide me with an overdose considering it was they who had caused the problem, and he stated that he would certainly do so if he were allowed to.

    To me it seems only fair that if they destroyed my life then they should be prepared to finish the job. Doctors should be allowed to kill their mistakes, and avoid any liability. It’s not like their is any accountability anyway, why would they be concerned?

    Instead they leave people to suffer further at their hands. I guess what i’m saying is lets get these “murders by suicide” out in the open and then we can begin to understand the situation a little better. Of course if this was done then the public would become aware of the real problem, that subjecting people to the sort of brutality associated with the system is actually causing the problem, and doing very little to ‘help’.

    Thanks for the info, it is good to have some direction from other cultures to see how they are discussing the issue.

    Kind regards


    Well, they suspended Dr Nitschke.

    Lets see how this plays out.

    Interesting that the number of suicides is double the national road toll. The suggestion has been to get more people dragged into the mental health system to combat this. To me, that’s a bit like suggesting with deal with the road toll by increasing the speed limits and getting more cars on the roads lol.

    Update as more info comes to hand.


    I can’t believe this topic isn’t getting more attention.

    I saw the same stats, re: increasing numbers of “euthanizations” of mental patients in the Netherlands:
    42 psychiatric patients euthanized in the Netherlands 2013 (

    And this is a system which deploys mobile euthanasia units ( And is a system under which there is not even the limited protection of requiring a judge’s decision to end someone’s life (

    Is this information accurate?

    Last time around, wasn’t the state sanctioned killing of psychiatric patients in Europe the prelude to death camps?


    A pensioner has been convicted for importing the drug Nembutal today.

    There has been quite a bit of debate on this topic here. The community has shown overwhelming support for the idea, and the politicians don’t want to discuss it.

    Last time around, wasn’t the state sanctioned killing of psychiatric patients in Europe the prelude to death camps?

    Canaries in the coalmine?


    [quote=46626]I can’t believe this topic isn’t getting more attention.[/quote]

    It’s a taboo topic in many ways Uprising.

    I got to thinking about this today with the debate that has revolved around Dr Nitschke, and this pensioner who has just been convicted for having imported Nebutal.

    In another thread I made mention of the plot to kill the prophet Mohammed (SAW) and the method that was going to be used to avoid responsibility for the murder. Seven spears and no one person could be held responsible.

    The Cocktail Party.

    I made a friend some years ago who was in a rehabilitation centre to try and stop drinking. He was a trained acrobat, and had made a career in professional dancing. He was also an openly homosexual man. 6 foot 2 inches tall and very fit. Whilst in a rehab with some rather shady, tough characters he became a target, until it was also found that he was a trained boxer, at which time attitudes towards him changed and he made a number of new friends.

    He was telling me that during the years when AIDS was beginning to claim victims in the Sydney gay community (1980s), that they would have parties for those who were succumbing to the disease. Invitations would be sent out, and each person upon entering the home of the host, would place a couple of tablets into a bowl. At the end of the evening the host would then swallow most, but not all of the tablets that had been provided. Leaving some was a deliberate act for reasons that may be apparent.

    This is basically the same method described with the plot. Police would have great difficulty tracking down who provided what medication, and I have no idea how they could conduct an autopsy and decide which of the medications had actually killed the person. So suicide was assisted but could not be prosecuted.

    Dr Nitschke and his legal problems.

    Dr Nitschke has been in some legal battles for assisting people with suicide. They have managed to deregister him at this point in time though it is being contested. He wrote a book called The Peaceful Pill eHandbook that is sold online. This book gives information about how to make an exit peacefully using medications. I assume that it contains a list of the medications and the calculations for amount of medication per kilo of body weight.

    So the information is available to those who wish to exit using this method. What isn’t available is easy access to the medications. Doctors would not prescribe amounts that could be used by someone who is suicidal, and anyone who assisted with such access would likely be prosecuted by police.

    With the advent of the internet has come a whole range of new ways of interacting with people. We hear daily about social networking through twitter, facebook etc. It seems to me that this ‘Cocktail Party Method’ described above would be even more effective now that this world wide community is so connected.

    Imagine a ‘torrent’ site where people who were of a like mind about euthanasia could get together and share their stories. They could also share small amounts of medication, from places all over the world. If they thought that they would like to assist someone who was dying of cancer they could place two pills in an envelope and send it to a specified address. The recipient would receive multiple packages, destroy the envelopes and would have access to what they required to exit peacefully.

    How would the authorities prosecute anyone for assisting with suicide. The information from Dr Nitschke’s book might have come froma Russian, and the pills may have been supplied from USA, UK, Finland, Somalia, and on and on. And there would be simply no way of tracking it back effectively. And would they look to prosecute people all over the world? Have them all extradited? For one suicide? I think not.

    So I wonder if, given that my community is overwhelmingly in favour of euthanasia, and our politicians are not, whether we should be using this opportunity provided by the internet to overcome the powers who are oppressing the will of the people.

    The pensioner mentioned above would not have fallen foul of the law if he had such a forum available on the internet. When he felt his time had come, he could have simply made a request in a forum, provided an address and allowed people who wished to assist him to do so.

    It seems that the power is in our hands, not the politicians.

    I may contact Dr Nitschke and ask if he has considered this as a means of avoiding any further harassment from the authorities.

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