The Australian Doctors Federation strongly condemns the proposal by the Northern Territory government to consider access to Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) for people suffering from a mental illness.

Persons suffering from a mental illness—whether the illness be acute or chronic, mild, moderate or severe—can respond well to treatment and support. Many recover fully, while others can live well with partial recovery and enjoy long fulfilling lives making valuable contributions to the lives of their families, friends and the general community.

Many persons suffering from psychiatric illness have creative talent and some have exceptional creative talent, even genius. 

The Australian Doctors Federation strongly recommends that Australia continue to value, support and offer treatment to people suffering from mental illness and oppose the appalling, immoral policies of Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada.  

Assisting those experiencing mental health challenges to die implies that psychiatric illness is intractable and intolerable, so imparting a sense of despair and futility. This is likely to increase rates of suicide.  Instead of the focus on VAD, all Australian governments should be taking all necessary steps to promote the mental health of all Australians, including prompt access to adequately resourced General Practitioners where needed.