Dutch Woman Opted for Euthanasia Because of Incurable Mental Health Challenges

The Rising Trend of Euthanasia for Mental Health Issues: The Case of Zoraya ter Beek in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, a debate has been sparked by the case of Zoraya ter Beek. The 28-year-old woman, who suffers from severe mental health issues including depression, autism, and borderline personality disorder, made the decision to undergo euthanasia in May. Despite having a supportive boyfriend and pets, ter Beek feels that her mental illness is incurable.

The trend of euthanasia for mental health issues is becoming more common in the Netherlands, where it is legal. This reflects a growing movement among individuals who choose to take control of their final days rather than endure prolonged suffering. However, this decision has sparked discussions among the public. Some people view it as a concerning trend of healthcare professionals resorting to euthanasia for mental health issues, while others see 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 due to 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, particularly among young people.

Ter Beek’s euthanasia procedure will take place at her home with her doctor administering 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, accounting for 5% of all deaths in 2022. This has fueled criticism from those who believe that the law may encourage suicide.

Prior to taking leave of absence from social media, ter Beek addressed these concerns on social media.

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