The Current

An open, 'uncomfortable' conversation on mental health, suicide and doctor-assisted death

At a time when there's a call for better mental health care due to suicides in First Nations communities, Graeme Bayliss is asking that suicidal people be given help to end their lives. He wants to start a national conversation. *If you're struggling and need help, click on the headline for crisis and support services.*
Graeme Bayliss, journalist and managing editor of The Walrus magazine, lives with chronic depression and suicidal thoughts. He believes Canada's new doctor-assisted death laws should include people such as him. (Courtesy of Graeme Bayliss)

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One day Graeme Bayliss found himself standing at the edge of the lake, his shoes off. But something made him turn away and go back to work. He wants a national conversation on suicide, mental health and dying with dignity, and he's taking the first step.

Suicide. It's the kind of conversation many shy away from — usually. On a personal level, it's uncomfortable and upsetting. And media steers clear of it because there's concern about triggering someone vulnerable.

But The Walrus magazine's Graeme Bayliss wants to change that. He's in his mid-twenties, clinically depressed, and has thoughts about killing himself. 

Bayliss wants the right — should he choose — to do it peacefully, and with dignity. He has written an essay in The Walrus that takes on Canada's proposed new law on doctor-assisted death. In it, he says the legislation doesn't go far enough and believes it should include provisions for people with a mental illness. Bayliss makes a provocative argument.

Doctor-assisted death is an important debate our country is having and although it's an upsetting and uncomfortable conversation to have, Graeme Bayliss's voice needs to be heard, says The Current host Anna Maria Tremonti.

Guests in this segment:

Send us your thoughts on this discussion. Do you want to see the conversation about suicide change?

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This segment was produced by The Current's John Chipman, Josh Bloch and Pacinthe Mattar.