Voluntary Assisted Dying
In May 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022. Effective from Tuesday, 28 November 2023, eligible people will have the choice to access voluntary assisted dying.
What is voluntary assisted dying?
Voluntary assisted dying means an eligible person can ask for medical help to end their life. If a person meets all the criteria and the steps set out under the Act, they can take or be given a voluntary assisted dying substance, prescribed by an authorised practitioner, to bring about their death at the time of their choosing.
Criteria for voluntary assisted dying
A person must:
- be at least 18 years old and an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a resident of Australia for at least three consecutive years
- have been living in NSW for at least 12 months
- have at least one disease, illness, or medical condition that:
- is advanced and progressive,
- will, on the balance of probabilities, cause death within six months (or within 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases, such as motor neurone disease)
- is experiencing suffering they find unbearable
- have decision-making capacity
- be acting voluntarily and without pressure or being forced to, and
- has an unchanging request for access to voluntary assisted dying
For more information on voluntary assisted dying, visit the NSW Health website.
Go Gentle Australia is a not-for-profit organisation promoting choices at the end of life, including voluntary assisted dying with resources for community.
Mental health support
Reading about voluntary assisted dying and thinking about end of life care can be distressing. If you need support, call our Head to Health phoneline on 1800 595 212 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm) to speak to a trained mental health professional who will be able to refer you to the right service.
NSW Health has support services for anyone considering voluntary assisted dying. And if you are a family member, friend or carer supporting someone with voluntary assisted dying, NSW Health has advice on bereavement care and how to look after yourself.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or if you need help now, call Emergency on Triple Zero (000).