BBC News 9 June 2016Family First Comment: More slippery slope…..“Psychiatrist Caroline Depuydt, who works at the Clinique Fond’roy psychiatric hospital in Brussels, prefers to encourage patients to seek further treatment. “We always have something that could work. Time, medication, psychotherapy – something that we must try and keep going with that. And the psychiatrist must give hope to the patient that it’s never finished,” she says.”A gay man in Belgium is trying to end his life because he cannot accept his sexuality. He told the Victoria Derbyshire programme he wanted to be granted euthanasia on the grounds of extreme psychological suffering.Sébastien has thought carefully about the moment he hopes his life will come to an end.“The moment when they put the drip in my arm – I’m not worried about that,” the 39-year-old explains. “For me, it’s just a kind of anaesthesia.”Sébastien, whose name we have changed to protect his identity, is from Belgium – where euthanasia has been legal since 2002.There were 1,807 confirmed cases of euthanasia in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available.The majority of cases are elderly people suffering from terminal illnesses including cancer – only 4% were suffering from psychiatric disorders.‘Permanent suffering’For Sébastien, or anyone else in Belgium who seeks euthanasia as an option, it is not as simple as asking a doctor and being granted a lethal injection.The law states that patients must demonstrate “constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering”.In psychological cases, three doctors must agree that euthanasia is the right option.Nevertheless, Sébastien remains determined to pursue it.“I have always thought about death. Looking back on my earliest memories, it’s always been in my thoughts. It’s a permanent suffering, like being a prisoner in my own body,” he says.“A constant sense of shame, feeling tired, being attracted to people you shouldn’t be attracted to – as though everything were the opposite of what I would have wanted.”There is widespread public support for the euthanasia law in Belgium and the number of approved cases has risen year by year since it came into effect in 2002.In 2014, the law was amended to allow euthanasia for terminally-ill children.But there is debate among the medical profession about whether it should be an option for people who are mentally ill.Psychiatrist Caroline Depuydt, who works at the Clinique Fond’roy psychiatric hospital in Brussels, prefers to encourage patients to seek further treatment.“We always have something that could work. Time, medication, psychotherapy – something that we must try and keep going with that. And the psychiatrist must give hope to the patient that it’s never finished,” she says.“It’s a very difficult law, it’s a philosophical and ethical question, very deep and there is no one good answer.”READ MORE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36489090Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.