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Ellen Cohen of the National Network for Mental Health, explains her resignation from the federal government’s Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying and Mental Illness. Cohen describes some of the underlying social and health dynamics involved.

Cohen lays out the need to more urgently reflect further on MAID for Mental Illness, but also on the need to make more effective our current systems of care in mental health, but also social and general health care, before we implement this legislation in March!

... I do not believe the panel gave these issues serious consideration. For example, they recommended that if a person is continually “in a situation of involuntariness” for longer than six months, they should still be allowed to apply for MAID and be assessed from inside a psychiatric facility. Situations of involuntariness would include being in and out of a psychiatric facility, or being locked in the criminal-justice system. ...

Why I resigned from the federal expert panel on medical assistance in dying

… I went into the panel with an open mind. In Canada, the psychiatric system is the only part of the medical system that legally permits physicians to hold and treat patients against their will. This is allowed under provincial and territorial mental-health legislation.

Taking aim against this practice is the psychiatric consumer-survivor movement, which began in the 1960s, when people started to challenge some of the harmful and coercive effects of psychiatry, including forced treatment, stigma and discrimination. But disability communities are diverse, and I know that consumer-survivors are divided on the issue of MAID and mental health. …

See the article here:

For further background and critique, please see this Policy Options article:

The Trudeau government rushed MAiD legislation for political reasons. The law’s defenders invoke the right to equality while ignoring serious dangers.

by Ramona Coelho,  John Maher,  Trudo Lemmens


(image from Policy Options : of leaves blowing away from a tree, in the form of a face)

See the article here:


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Here is article examining the legislative process further:

Canada will soon allow medically assisted dying for mental illness. Has there been enough time to get it right?

With doctors divided and federal guidelines still in development, Canadians have questions about who will qualify for MAID next year – and whether it’s a good idea to give the most vulnerable an easier way to die

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