Did you know that a 2016 study by the US National Institute of Health found that a majority of people killed by euthanasia in the Netherlands for so-called psychiatric reasons had complained of loneliness? The researchers found that loneliness, or “social isolation”, was a key motivation behind the euthanasia requests of 37 of 66 cases reviewed, a figure representing 56% of the total.[i]
What if we could help to prevent at least some of these tragic deaths through the presence of people willing to make time for life each week or each month and spend it with those who experience social isolation through age, illness or disability?
Jean Vanier, one of the most tireless advocates for the vulnerable members of our society wrote that “to be lonely is to feel unwanted and unloved, and therefore unlovable. Loneliness is a taste of death.”[ii]
To address this pressing need especially in the face of Canada’s new legislation allowing both euthanasia and assisted suicide, LifeCanada is introducing the Dying Healed Program.
The Dying Healed Program teaches that though not all of us can be healed physically, all of us can be healed spiritually and emotionally. The Dying Healed Program seeks to instill in volunteers a sense of confidence that their presence at the bedside of a lonely or dying person is an invaluable service.
The Dying Healed Program is being piloted across Canada, in Saskatchewan and Ottawa, and in Vancouver through Vancouver’s Life Community (Vancouver Right to Life).
[i]http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/02/18/most-euthanasia-deaths-linked-to-loneliness-says-dutch-study/ published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry,
[ii] Jean Vanier, Becoming Human