Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is a legal end-of-life option in Canada for eligible individuals who are suffering from a grievous and irremediable medical condition. This includes individuals who have a mental illness as the sole underlying medical condition.
Under the Canadian Criminal Code, a person is eligible for MAID if they:
- Are eligible for government-funded health services in Canada.
- Have a “grievous and irremediable medical condition.” This includes both physical and psychological conditions that cause enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual.
- Make a voluntary request for MAID that is informed, free, and enduring.
- Give informed consent to receive MAID.
In the case of individuals with a mental illness as the sole underlying medical condition, they must be assessed by two independent medical practitioners, one of whom must be a psychiatrist. These practitioners must confirm that the individual meets the eligibility criteria, including the requirement that their suffering is intolerable and cannot be alleviated through any other means.
It’s important to note that MAID is a complex and sensitive issue, and it is subject to ongoing debate and legal challenge. Mental health professionals are also divided on the issue, with some expressing concerns about the implications for people with mental illness.