This will be another the key challenge for people whose sole underlying medical condition is mental illness when MAiD becomes legal. We know that people with mental illness are overrepresented among those who live in poverty or those who experience homelessness, and it is unclear if or how that will impact requests for MAiD where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition.
At this time, there is a requirement that for MAiD requests where a person’s death is not reasonably foreseeable that the person be informed of all available means to relieve their suffering, including ‘community services’, and be offered consultations with those who provide those services. There is also a requirement that the person and their healthcare practitioners agree that reasonable means to alleviate the person’s suffering have been discussed and seriously considered.
Recently, a government-appointed expert panel recommended that ‘community services’ be interpreted to include income and housing supports as a means available to relieve suffering. It is important to note that this is just a recommendation at this point. It is also unclear what would happen if the income or housing supports that are offered are inadequate, inappropriate, or inaccessible.