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MPs urged not confuse suicide with assisted dying

(Headline abbreviated, original headline: Suicide Prevention Expert Urges MPs not confuse suicide with assisted dying)

A leading expert in suicide prevention has urged MPs not to confuse suicide with assisted dying as they consider the second reading of the End of Life Choice Bill.

Responding to the statement in the Justice Committee report on the Bill that some members would prefer to refer to assisted dying as “suicide and euthanasia” throughout the report, suicidologist Barry Taylor said that the inclusion of these terms was unfortunate and unhelpful.

Mr Taylor who teaches on the difference between suicide and assisted dying and who has advised governments in Australia on the difference said use of the term suicide alongside assisted dying diminishes an informed public discussion on both suicide prevention and assisted dying.

“It is more than just semantics,” Mr Taylor said. “The is significance difference between a suicidal person who seeks to end the pain through ending his or her life the person wishing to determine their imminent death due to terminal illness.”

“To confuse the terms is also disrespectful of both suicidal people and people living with a terminal illness, the anguish and pain they are enduring and the conclusions they arrive at,” he said.

According to Mr Taylor, many suicidal people do not want to die but rather cannot endure the psyche pain that is often burdening and overwhelming and that when provided with the appropriate support and care will make a decision to live. “This is very different to a person who is terminal with an illness and that death is inevitable and their desire to choose how and when they will die,” he said.

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