documentary ‘Liefs, Melissa’ tells us about Melissa, a young woman struggling
with depressions and borderline, a mental disorder. After more than ten years
of therapy, heavy medication, living in institutions and trying to find ways
for her to ’live’, Melissa was convinced she could only find the peace and
quiet which she so badly needed in death. But finding a humane way of suicide
turned out to be a struggle all on its own. After several euthanasia requests were turned down, Melissa took her own life on November 7, 2009, at the age of 27.
World Health Organization estimates that every year about a million people die
because of suicide. In the past 45 years suicide rates have gone up about 60%.
Despite all the regulations we have in the Netherlands, suicide and assisting
suicide are still an unsolved problem. Because the lack of regulation on
(physician-)assisted suicide it often happens that people see no other way out
except a violent one.
physician asked by a patient to assist during suicide is committing a criminal
offense unless he follows the ‘demands concerning meticulousness’, which
includes judging the physical and mental suffering of the patient. This
suffering has to be ‘hopeless and unbearable’ before the physician is legally
allowed to facilitate the voluntary death. But when exactly is suffering
‘hopeless and unbearable’ and is it even possible to judge someone else’s
photographs were taken between March 2007 and June 2010.