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Dutch Woman Opted for Euthanasia Because of Incurable Mental Health Challenges

In May, 28-year-old Zoraya ter Beek made the difficult decision to undergo euthanasia due to her severe mental health struggles. Depression, autism, and borderline personality disorder had left her feeling like she had no control over her life and that there was no further treatment available.

The case of ter Beek has sparked a debate in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal. Some people see her decision as a concerning trend of healthcare professionals resorting to euthanasia for mental health issues, while others view it as a way to grant terminally ill patients more agency in their end-of-life decisions.

In recent years, more individuals have been considering euthanasia as an acceptable option for ending their lives, particularly as mental health issues are exacerbated by various stressors such as economic uncertainty, climate change, and social media. Healthcare ethicists in the Netherlands have raised concerns about the increasing acceptance of euthanasia for psychiatric disorders, especially among young people.

Ter Beek’s euthanasia procedure will take place at her home, where her doctor will administer a sedative followed by medication to stop her heart. Her boyfriend will be present during the procedure, and she will be cremated with her ashes scattered in a designated forest spot.

The legalization of euthanasia in the Netherlands in 2001 has led to a steady increase in the number of euthanasia deaths in the country. In 2022, euthanasia accounted for 5% of all deaths in the Netherlands, fueling criticism from those who believe the law may encourage suicide. Prior to taking a leave of absence, ter Beek addressed these concerns on social media.

By Samantha Jones

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