Youth worker worried about euthanasia bill’s impact on suicide

By April 16, 2019 Recent News

Radio NZ News 15 April 2019
Family First Comment: Exactly what we warned about in our Submission….
“Mr Howard said the conversation around dying as a way out remained. He said many of the young people he worked with were intelligent and articulate, and followed discussions around the bill. Some were using the justifications of euthanasia advocates to inform their own situations.”

A therapist who specialises in youth suicide is concerned not enough is known about how assisted dying may affect vulnerable youth.

The End of Life Choice Bill allows for people in unbearable suffering or with an incurable, grievous condition to ask a doctor to help end their life.

Dion Howard, a nurse and therapist who has spent 20 years working with young people and has expertise in adolescent mental health, wrote a submission to MPs considering the bill.

In his submission, he argued the ripple effects on youth had not been adequately explored.

“Really, my question to the select committee is, ‘Can you be certain this would not impact the suicide rates of young people?’ To which the answer I’m certain is, ‘We don’t know that’.

“So, the next question should be, ‘Well, shouldn’t we know or shouldn’t you be certain before supporting a change?’ ”

He said overseas jurisdictions had grappled with the same issue.

“It was quite remarkable that the Scottish Parliament rejected their similar bill on the basis that they didn’t think they could reasonably prevent and educate on the prevention of suicide and present it as a solution at the same time.

“We need to be cautious about this and we have good grounds to be cautious.”
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