A 17-year-old girl who authored an award-winning book about living with depression and anorexia after being raped as a child has reportedly been allowed to die at home in the Netherlands.
The teenager, of Arnhem in the Netherlands, published an autobiography in 2018 called Winning or Learning, which detailed her battle with PTSD, depression, anorexia and self-harm.
In December last year, Pothoven told the Gelderlander she had initially contacted the Life End Clinic in The Hague to learn more about her options.
It did not comment on Noa’s death for privacy reasons but referred to a statement made by friends: “Noa Pothoven did not die of euthanasia. To stop her suffering, she has stopped eating and drinking.”
Politico reported that her parents and doctors agreed not to force feed her or compel her to be treated.
In an Instagram post which has since been made private, Pothoven addressed her decision to her 10,000 Instagram followers.
In quotes reported by the Evening Standard newspaper, Pothoven wrote: “I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway.
“Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalisation, but my plan has been there for a long time and it is not impulsive.
“I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die.
“I have quit eating and drinking for a while now and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable.”
‘Voluntary’ euthanasia and assisted suicide where doctors assist patients seeking death, were legalised in the Netherlands in 2002, though strict conditions apply.
Children as young as 12 can request the procedure if they are terminally ill, suffering unbearably, able to express their will and have parental approval.
After her death, Dutch MP Lisa Westerveld told Algemeen Dagblad: “Noa was incredibly strong and very open. I will never forget her. We will continue her struggle.”
In the UK Assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal under the terms of the 1961 Suicide Act and are punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Attempting to commit suicide is not a criminal act in itself.
UPDATE: This story was updated to reflect the statement of the Life End Clinic.
Useful websites and helplines:
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and Ireland (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
You can call Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Monday-Friday 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.
Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.
Rape Crisis services for women and girls who have been raped or have experienced sexual violence - 0808 802 9999
Survivors UK offers support for men and boys - 0203 598 3898