Kelsi Sheren was sent to Afghanistan aged 19, after enlisting in the Canadian army in 2009. She developed PTSD as a result of her experiences and, since her return, has become an outspoken critic of Canada’s euthanasia laws, branding them “disgusting and unacceptable”.
The army veteran, who witnessed a fellow soldier be blown to pieces by an IED, returned from service with the tell-tale symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. After finding help through art therapy, Ms Sheren has set out on a mission to support other veterans who return from the field in need of help.
Canada’s euthanasia laws are “disgusting and unacceptable”
As part of her mission, the former artillery-gunner has been a harsh critic of Canada’s euthanasia laws. Aware of stories of veterans with PTSD who have been pushed to consider euthanasia, Ms Sheren has lambasted her home country’s laws as “disgusting and unacceptable” and has argued that authorities see it as an easier option to euthanise veterans rather than support their recovery.
Ms Sheren shared that she personally knows of nearly a dozen veterans who have been offered euthanasia. She railed against this injustice, saying “When you take people who were willing to put their lives on the line for you, for your safety, then you have the audacity to tell them it’s better if you just die … it is one of the most disgusting things”.
Her story has been documented in her new book Brass and Unity which was released earlier this month.
Assisted suicide for mental health
Despite its already permissive laws, Canada is due to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia on mental health grounds in March 2024. In 2021, over 10,000 Canadian citizens ended their lives by assisted suicide or euthanasia. This accounts for 3.3% of all deaths in the country.
A year to see a psychiatrist but only two weeks for euthanasia
The Telegraph recently published a ‘Letter to the Editor’ in which a reader from Canada outlines that a family member had to wait a year for a psychiatric appointment but that it’s possible to make an appointment for euthanasia in two weeks.
The letter draws attention to the ease with which one could end their own life through assisted suicide compared to the difficulty of receiving genuine medical care. Its author, Susan Postill, from Toronto, Canada, said “Here in Canada, a member of my family was recently told there would be a one-year wait to see a psychiatrist, despite a serious psychiatric history. During the same time frame, a woman I know of was able to make a euthanasia appointment within two weeks”.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “It is truly alarming to hear how former service men and women have been offered euthanasia rather than support on their return from combat. Evidence from Canada shows that once assisted suicide and euthanasia are legalised, the practice becomes more widespread, and the eligibility criteria readily expanded. Vulnerable individuals need further support and protection rather than being encouraged to choose euthanasia”.