When we speak on mental illnesses and strategies to either cope or help an individual, usually appointments of therapy treatments and medications are one of the very first thoughts. Hospital patients who are diagnosed as clinically depressed or extreme levels of anxiety are offered these option to help them through these times of hardships. Then there are patients who suffer from incurable diseases, such as polio and epilepsy, who depend on research and science to one day find a cure and get the help they need. Euthanasia, a practice that has been around as long as the seventeenth century. It has been an argument developed by doctors, state legislators and more for years to not be used as a method of treatment.
Already in the country of Belgium, laws of euthanasia were amended, authorizing doctors to take the life of any child, at any age, who makes the request to be euthanized. As for other places int he world, even with the exception of being terminally ill, euthanasia is not an option. For example in the case of 104 year old David Goodold, and Australian scientists last wish was to die. Due to reason that he was not terminally ill, but his wishes may be granted when he visits the End of LIfe clinic in Switzerland for voulantary euthanasia.
Not many see this as as problem because of his age and the fact that he understands his wishes, in fact many imply that “He has lived long enough to see everything”. Now, if we allow David Goodold to, someone who has no terminal or mental illness, to kill himself via voluntary euthanasia, what could this mean for those hundreds to thousands of other cases where individuals who suffer from depression would like to undergo euthanasia. To understand what the cause would be for allowing assisted suicides, we must acknowledge the other age groups.
Teen suicide is the third leading cause of death in youths between the ages 12 and 19. Up to twenty percent of teens suffer some sort of depression before the age of 24. For many options such as Interpersonal therapy (IPT) and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). To an extant, not all people can be saved by therapy and interpersonal counseling. Can euthanasia be an option? If a 104 year old can have his wished granted for assisted suicide, why can’t a teen?
If we allowed for assisted suicide in teen and young adults it will cause of number of mass suicide in teens because the option to die is available. This will occur because no one will look to the first alternative options of IPT and CBT when the outcome they want is at the tip of their fingers. Assisted suicide options are seen as “utilitarian” to allow assisted suicide because it respects the decisions and wished of dying or distress patients.
The slippery slope argument is that we want to respect the wishes of those who want to be assisted in their suicide but if we allow euthanasia for the elderly and not the youth, it wont be utilitarian to no respect their decisions. Yet to allow this can lead to mass assisted suicide in teens, young adults, and in elders.
Lane, C. (2018, August 06). Children are being euthanized in Belgium. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/children-are-being-euthanized-in-belgium/2018/08/06/9473bac2-9988-11e8-b60b-1c897f17e185_story.html?utm_term=.9c9a393e9635
Dryden-Edwards, R. (n.d.). Teen Depression Facts, Treatment, Symptoms, Statistics & Tests. Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/teen_depression/article.htm
Morrow, A. (n.d.). Why Do People Seek Physician-Assisted Suicide? Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/reasons-for-seeking-physician-assisted-suicide-1132378