You may have heard about or even know people with advanced cancer who decide it would be best – for themselves and those close to them – if they sped up their death. Some people give up on living because they feel they are a burden on their family or that they have little support.
This is not necessarily the same as refusing treatment because you, and possibly your doctor feel it is futile and painfully prolonging the inevitable.
A desire to actively hasten death can be a sign that some sort of help or support is needed. This may include relief of physical symptoms, counselling for depression or more emotional support. It is common for someone who says they want to die to change their mind later.
The wish to die is a difficult matter for all concerned and needs to be handled sensitively by all those involved – including health professionals – and with your dignity in mind.
It is illegal in every state of Australia to help in speeding up a person's death (otherwise known as euthanasia or assisted suicide).
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Last updated 30 August 2015