Assisted suicide as fashionable psych cause in media


Because media coverage of suicide could easily lead to copycat suicides, in 2008 the World Health Organization issued a long list of guidelines for journalists. It advises them to: “Avoid language which sensationalizes or normalizes suicide, or presents it as a solution to problems”, “Avoid providing detailed information about the site of a completed or attempted suicide”, and to “Show due consideration for people bereaved by suicide”.

Campaigns for assisted suicide and euthanasia ignore this. In addition to sympathetic headlines, media organisations are producing YouTube videos which paint a glowing picture of assisted dying, illustrate clearly how it is carried out, and draw teary relatives into the story. In recent months there have been numerous examples. A 29-year-old California woman, Brittany Maynard, made two videos (here and here) with the help of the assisted suicide lobby group Compassion & Choices which were seen by millions of people, before she died through assisted suicide in Oregon. Australia’s SBS network recently filmed a Belgian doctor giving an elderly, depressed woman a lethal barbiturate. She died on camera.

The latest development is a 21-minute video made by The Economist and part-funded by Virgin Unite, a charity financed by British billionaire Richard Branson, about a 24-year-old Belgian woman suffering from severe depression who has asked for euthanasia. Anticipating objections, the first frame reads: “Warning. There are some scenes in this film which some viewers may find distressing.” It is a necessary precaution.

Although outwardly normal, Emily is severely troubled. There is a graphic scene in which she displays the scars on her arms from self-mutilation. In another, three doctors describe to her exactly how she will die, and another in which a psychiatrist explains magisterially why euthanasia may be suitable for her. More.

Wondering what government will do with the money they save from mental health care …

Reality check: This is like abortion except the woman is the “problem” unborn child. Aka: What goes around, comes around.

  • WalterBannon

    If enough ‘liberals” commit suicide we may be able to save civilization.

  • k1992

    My brother had this silly “logic” question in high school – only x people can fit in the fallout shelter but there are x+5 people: some are doctors, engineers, etc.: how do you choose? He ticked off his teacher by refusing to answer, saying every human life was of infinite value, and therefore there was no way to choose (however you slice infinity, it’s still infinity).

    I thought good for him, but the idea that human life has much value or that, heaven forbid, each of us owes something to our communities and fellow humans, including perhaps, that we are obligated ethically to make the effort to continue to live and contribute to society, seem like outdated ideas. Of course, choosing to commit suicide would never nowadays be framed as an ethical question – no, it’s obviously a physical (mental) one … or so the intellectual elites assure us.

    • Exile1981

      I remember that one from school in the 80’s. I said I’d have everybody gather outside then close the door because if it was designed for X people for a year I could last X years by myself.

      Just to piss the teacher off.

      I just posed this question to my oldest and she said kick out the lawyers, politicians and gingers.

  • Hard Little Machine

    France just saw a bunch of assisted suicides, sort of.

    • Exile1981

      Ouch, too soon HLM.

  • Frances

    And when will the right to die become the obligation to be put to death?