Why we need a made-in-Canada approach to assisted suicide

As Canadians weigh in on Bill C-14, some will say it has gone far enough. Others will insist it must go further

Why we need a made-in-Canada approach to assisted suicideAutonomy, it would seem, is an intoxicant. The more we have, the more we want. In tabling its draft legislation on physician-hastened death, the Federal Government has rejected several key recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID). In the days ahead, as Canadians weigh in on Bill C-14, some will…

Assisted suicide for those with mental illness a risky proposition

Who but those who have experienced it can appreciate the soul-crushing anguish of mental illness?

Assisted suicide for those with mental illness a risky propositionWho but those who have experienced it can appreciate the soul-crushing anguish of mental illness? Afflictions of the mind can be paralyzing and fundamentally change the way we perceive ourselves (I am worthless), anticipate the future (my prospects are hopeless), and experience the world (life is unfair and unforgiving). The combination of self-loathing, hopelessness and…

Physician-assisted suicide no substitute for adequate care

Physician-assisted death may serve as a substitute for effective support for people with mental health problems

Physician-assisted suicide no substitute for adequate careBy Jennifer A. Chandler and Simon Hatcher University of Ottawa The federal government committee looking at physician assisted dying released its long-awaited recommendations recently to much debate. The permissive approach it recommends reflects the spirit of the Supreme Court of Canada declaration that the prohibition of physician assisted dying violates the fundamental human right to…

A glimpse into Vancouver’s Eastside Skid Row

There were drug addicts on the street in 1976, but somehow many of the interactions seemed to involve mentally ill people

A glimpse into Vancouver’s Eastside Skid RowFor four months in 1976, I was a pretend cop in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  I was really a UBC Law student who had just finished first year, and had landed a summer job as a ride-along with the Vancouver Police Department. The program was geared towards students who were interested in criminal law, and its day-to-day…

Five ways we can reduce suicide in Canada

Why a suicide prevention strategy needs to include personal injury prevention

Five ways we can reduce suicide in CanadaCanadian rates of suicide and attempted suicide have remained largely unchanged over the last several decades. But we have seen increasing rates of suicide in the Canadian military recently, after stable rates for decades. Over 40,000 Canadian soldiers were deployed in Afghanistan, so there has been an understandable concern about mental health problems and suicides among…

Integrate physical and mental health services for better care

Individuals with both psychiatric and medical illnesses can't get the care they need it because of the way health services are delivered

Integrate physical and mental health services for better careBy Sanjeev Sockalingam and Paul Kurdyak University of Toronto Our health system often puts mental and physical health into distinct silos of care, yet no such mind-body separation exists in actual patients. Many individuals with chronic physical conditions simultaneously experience mental health issues. According to the World Health Organization, four of the six leading causes…

How Canada fails people with mental illnesses

Canada needs improved access to mental healthcare services

How Canada fails people with mental illnessesBy Paul Kurdyak Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Sanjeev Sockalingam University of Toronto In any developed country, politicians and clinicians are struggling to improve quality of care while reducing costs of healthcare systems. To remedy this, groups of doctors across North America – including here in Canada – have banded together to create…
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