This article is intended to shed light on a contentious practice that may affect hundreds of vulnerable people.
Two tiny countries in Europe were the first to allow euthanasia. In most other countries, including the UK and the US, it is illegal for doctors to kill their patients.
Scarily, Dutch psychiatrists successfully obtained the right to euthanize their patients in 2010. They obtained that right using political extortion. In this article I intend to provide a basic insight in the nature of the practice, of how it came to be and personal considerations why it may not be responsible.
Psychiatrists did not have the right to euthanize their patients until 2010. They obtained that right with what appeared to have been political extortion. 
In 2010, the Dutch version of the APA (NVvP) released an official guideline that instructed institutions to release their patients with a suicide wish, so that they could commit suicide.
Their press release stated the following, in which it became evident that they specifically complained about not being able to apply euthanasia to involuntarily committed patients:
“Psychiatrists have hardly any options to help patients with suicide, especially if they have been admitted involuntarily, and have to rely on treatment methods such as years of isolation cell imprisonment or electroshock.”
The head of the Dutch union for railway personnel, mr. Wim Eilert, responded with the following:
“This is a bad signal. Every year 200 people in the Netherlands jump in front of a train. These are horrific experiences for drivers and also for conductors. Some never come back to work. That is why suicide on the railways must be reduced as much as possible. When institutions let patients go to commit suicide, a number of them always ends before a train, because it is simply a certain path to death.”
In a poll with psychiatrists in The Netherlands, 75% of psychiatrists responded to approve of euthanasia as a treatment option and 43% responded that they would be willing to apply it. 
Soon after the guideline, Dutch politics provided psychiatrists with the right to euthanize their patients and the numbers have been growing rapidly since. In 2010, the year of the guideline, 2 patients were euthanized. In 2011 the number grew to 13 patients and in 2013 the number had grown to more than 50 patients.
It is almost 10 years later and it is estimated that more than 2,000 people have been euthanized by a psychiatrist in The Netherlands and Belgium. The two countries are tiny. 2,000 people in 10 years time is a big number. Translated to the US population it would correspond with 40,000 people.
There are situations in which psychiatric care could have had a devastating effect on the life of a person. And while it is debatable if such care is justifiable or should be changed, the fact remains that there simply are situations in which psychiatry may reduce or destroy the will to live in a person.
Some medications such as anti-depressants are proven to increase the risk of suicide while others may have severe side effects by which life may become unbearable.
Further, unlike other branches of the medical profession, psychiatry forces some treatments onto patients against their will. It includes forced electroshock treatment  and years of isolation cell imprisonment that could have devastating effects on a persons will to live.
The abuses are not incidents as is evident from the existence of MadInAmerica.com with thousands of participants and readers.
If psychiatrists are allowed to apply euthanasia, it is just a tiny step to forced euthanasia. And psychiatrists may not even need to force people who have received many failed treatments in many years of time, who’s mental will is broken by a combination of medications and electroshock. They could easily manipulate those patients.
The hopeless nature of some mental problems could have been caused by psychiatry.
See for example the Dutch NOVA broadcast about innocent depressed girls that have been imprisoned in a isolation cell for multiple years (combined with forced anti-psychotic injection). The girls stated on TV to have been broken by the treatment that they received.  
There were more incidents that received national attention. Some patients were killed by psychiatric care.
Blackmailing to hide wrongdoing
The years leading up to the guideline had seen a lot of mainstream media attention for scandals in psychiatry and it was often cited that psychiatry turned to blackmailing to hide their wrongdoing.
When the mother of a 22-year old University student suspected that the problems of her daughter were caused by a nutrient deficit, she was ignored by the psychiatrists.  Her daughter received several (invalid) diagnosis including schizophrenia and when the psychiatrists demanded forced electroshock (ECT), she raised the alarm via a blog. The story was given national attention by celebrity psychiatrist Dr. Bram Bakker and soon after, the mother was blackmailed to take her blog offline under the threat that she was not allowed to see her daughter. The mother wasn’t allowed to see her daughter for 7 weeks.
“They pay € 24,000 every month for her, unbelievable, for that money someone is drugged and placed in a smelly room.”
As a sort of retaliation, Dr. Bram Bakker was “ex-communicated” by psychiatry. He wrote the following in his Volkskrant column:
“I was dismissed from psychiatry. Call it academic inquisition.” “They actually excommunicated me.” 
Robert Whitaker once wrote the following in an email to me which shows that it is a widely known fact that psychiatry attempts to hide it’s wrongdoing by hurting people.
As for the rest of the medical profession, well, doctors basically belong to a big tribe, and part of the tribal rules are that those in one discipline don’t publicly criticize the doctors in another discipline. This keeps non-psychiatrist doctors from weighing in on the matter, and as far as criticism that arises from within psychiatry, psychiatry as a field has been very successful in letting its members know that they will be ex-communicated and their careers will suffer if they speak too critically. Psychiatrists are allowed to make minor concessions, such as saying that pharmaceutical money has become too influential, but they are not allowed to say that the drugs don’t really work.”
Dr. Bram Bakker was punished for standing up for a mother and her daughter. Despite his strong position as a celebrity psychiatrist, he had to endure damaging influence to his professional career.
The blackmailing weren’t incidents.
In 2010, shortly before psychiatrists were given the right to euthanize their patients, politician Halbe Zijlstra (from the then ruling party) raised the alarm about a measure demanded by the mental health organizations to hide their wrongdoing from the public. The demand was a response to the many scandals that had hit the news and as such it became evident that psychiatry intended to hide their wrongdoing and resorted to political blackmailing to meet their ends. 
This fact is important for context. It is seen here that in 2010, politicians seek public media attention for “blackmailing” by psychiatry and that same fact came to light in the political extortion used to obtain the right to apply euthanasia.
Why did psychiatry receive the right to euthanize patients at that specific time?
With euthanasia, psychiatry is much stronger in hiding potential wrongdoing.
It doesn’t seem logical that politicians would have ‘given in’ to extortion at that time, considering the public shout out about the occurrence of such practices by a ruling party politician several months before. But if political extortion wouldn’t have been required to get euthanasia legalized, why would the Dutch APA have used such a tactic? If anything, it shows a lack of care for their patients and for society by essentially letting patients jump in front of a train.
The end result is simple however. Psychiatrists obtained and used their right. Patients were being euthanized and it reached the international news. 
I must rely on the numbers communicated by the media, but there is no reason to doubt it. Who were the 1,000 people who were euthanized by a psychiatrist in the past 10 years?
There are patients who are called “given up”. I know of many psychiatrists and mental health specialists who cannot accept the term “given up”, especially with youngsters, and some claim that psychiatry could have been the cause of the chronicity of problems in those patients.   But would they have been able to protect those thousands of people from being lured / forced into euthanasia?
A recent blog by Bonnie Burstow, PhD on MadInAmerica.com  started with the following quote:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)
Considering the history, some patients are likely to be at risk when psychiatrists can advise euthanasia as a treatment option. Why wouldn’t they advise it when they see no way out after years of failed treatments?
Chronicizing of mental health problems starts with the fundamental idea on which psychiatry is based: the idea that the human mind and emotions are the result of accidental chemistry in the brain. That idea implies – with vulnerable people in a crisis – that life is meaningless. As a person who has to learn to fight to overcome complex mental problems, you are not served by such an idea. If you experience life as a coincidence or as meaningless, you can wish for feelings of happiness as much as you want but the chance that you will achieve them would be small.
There are strong indications that psychiatry exacerbates problems and makes them chronic. That makes it ethically irresponsible to allow psychiatrists to euthanize their patients, even though there may be situations in which people can genuinely choose to end their lives while there is nothing wrong with their body. The fact that – in view of the fierce criticism of psychiatry by many scholars (of which the existence of MadInAmerica.com is evidence) – it cannot be excluded that psychiatry has provided inadequate care or even had a detrimental influence on the opinion and decision-making of an individual, makes it ethically irresponsible to allow psychiatrists to euthanize their patients.
 “Doctors release their patients for suicide”
 43% of psychiatrists willing to apply euthanasia to their patients, 75% approves
 Mother raises the alarm about forced ECT threat to daughter
 NOVA TV report: innocent depressed girls locked in a isolation cell for more than 1 year
 Nicole on national TV (official news): “I was locked in a isolation cell for 1.5 years”
 “Emergency Call for my Daughter”: psychiatrist keeps pressing for forced electroshock
 Dr. Bram Bakker: “I have been dismissed from psychiatry, call it academic inquisition”
 Halbe Zijlstra (politician): “Psychiatry blackmails to keep scandals hidden”
 Dr. Detlef Petry: “’Given up’ patients are often made chronically ill by treatment”
 Dr. Detlef Petry: “Written off but not ‘given up’: a psychiatrist’s fight for his patients” ISBN 9026323344
 Bonnie Burstow, PhD: Psychiatric Eugenics Then and Now
About the author
Arjan Dokelaar is a co-founder of the Dutch blog www.zielenknijper.nl. It is a critical blog that does not have a professional link with mental health care, politics or a religion. The blog’s primary interest has been honest science and a general interest in the well-being of human beings. Over the years, several practices within psychiatry have been critically examined from a outsiders and non-professional perspective.