Physically healthy 28-year old in the Netherlands to be euthanised in May due to ‘crippling depression’

A 28-year-old Dutch woman, physically fit but struggling with severe depression, autism, and borderline personality disorder, has made the decision to end her life legally. Zoraya ter Beek, from a a small village in the Netherlands near the German border, is set to undergo euthanasia in May. Despite being in a relationship with her boyfriend and sharing her home with two cats, ter Beek, who once aspired to become a psychiatrist, has grappled with mental health challenges throughout her life.

She arrived at the decision for euthanasia after her medical team informed her that her condition was unlikely to improve further. “If it doesn’t get better, I can’t continue like this,” she said. Her case reflects a growing trend in many Western countries where individuals opt for death instead of trying to find was to manage their mental health issues.

Ter Beek’s euthanasia will be carried out at home, with her boyfriend by her side. The process will begin with a sedative followed by a drug to stop her heart, all done in a calm and supportive environment. She has chosen not to have a funeral, with her ashes to be scattered in a wooded area selected by her and her boyfriend.

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize assisted suicide in 2001. Since then, its grounds for euthanasia have expanded considerably. In Ireland, the Joint Committee on Assisted Dying issued its recommendations to government in March 2024 that a form of assisted dying should be introduced in law and regulated. Three members of the committee issued a minority report which noted that “the recommendations in the final draft Report failed to do justice to many concerns expressed both at public meetings and at private meetings during the drafting process. Having regard to the many warnings given by witnesses to the Committee and to help inform any future decision-making several members of the Committee declined to sign off on the final majority Report.”