Noa Pothoven Biography
Noa Pothoven had been repeatedly re-admitted to the hospital to try and treat her post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anorexia
Noa Pothoven, a teenage author who struggled with depression and mental health issues was euthanized – legally – in the Netherlands.
Despite her young age – only 17 – Noa had already accomplished so much. She was educating society about depression through a book about her life, a blog, an Instagram page, and a fundraising site. She didn’t always want to die. On the fundraising page, she once wrote, “I don’t want to just give up.”
Noa Pothoven: Raped girl, 17, dies by legal euthanasia in the Netherlands https://t.co/52cprc7osj
— Mare Bear (@crayzylaydy) June 5, 2019
In 2017, three people 17 or under were euthanized in the Netherlands; 73 people between the ages of 18 and 40 died that way, although more of those people were suffering from cancer than from psychiatric issues, according to the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee.
Noa Pothoven from Arnhem, a city in the eastern part of the country, died in bed at home with the assistance of an end of life clinic on Sunday.
The teenager had been attacked and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions, the first when she was 11-years-old. She was reportedly raped when she was 14.
Her autobiography Winning or Learning was about her struggle to cope with the attacks.
Writing about her decision to end her life on a social media last week, she said: “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 is not impulsive.
Noa Pothoven Called Herself a ‘Mental Illness Warrior’ Whose Suffering Was ‘Unbearable’
On Instagram, Pothoven characterized herself as a “Mental illness warrior (and blogger).” She also described herself as a vegetarian who was “#stronglikeafighter” and posted a link to her fundraising website.
The Instagram site has now been privatized.
In a heartbreaking post (no longer public), Pothoven explained why she wanted to die. “Love is letting go, in this case,” she wrote. She described the pain as unbearable, continuing, “Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalization, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive.”
— GI Wilson (@GIWilson) June 4, 2019
“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. I breathe, but I no longer live.”
She also wrote the following on Instagram the day before she died: “I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway…I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die…After years of battling and fighting, I am drained.”
On Her Fundraising Page, Noa Wrote That She Had Been Receiving Treatment for Severe, Medication-Resistant Depression
Her still active fundraising page contains a post in which Noa proclaimed: “I don’t want to just give up.”
“I have been receiving treatment at GGZ for years. Clinics, part-time, outpatient treatment, hospital admissions. I am currently following Electro Convulsion Therapy, a treatment for severe, therapy and medication-resistant depression. I don’t want to just give up,” she wrote.
— LAURA LOVE (@lauralemke87) June 5, 2019
“Since a while, I have been busy trying to break through stigmas. For example, I published a book about my life (Winning or Learning) and I blog openly about my struggle on social media (especially on Instagram, @noamaestro). I would like to dedicate myself to charity by standing on a pole for as long as possible. Together with one of my best friends, Nienke. And of course the rest of the people who participate.”
“Because I don’t just give up.”
Noa Was an Author & She Described Herself as a Perfectionist
You can see Noa Pothoven’s book here.
The blurb described it as “Win or learn – Living with PTSD at a young age: depression, anorexia and self-harm.” The Sun reported that Noa was hospitalized in critical condition due to anorexia in the past.
The book summary’s translation reads:
“I was young. I was eleven when it started.
I was already a perfectionist, something that made me tense because I wanted to do everything perfectly at school.
However, it was still fairly normal.
Until I was assaulted twice, until I was raped.
Until then it was normal.
After that there was nothing left of my life.
In my book you can read how I do that,
or at least how I try.”
Because of being raped several times, it affected her mentally, physically and emotionally, she no longer wanted to live, she legally ended her life, she was 17….Noa Pothoven of Arnhem in the Netherlands is legally euthanised #SmartNews https://t.co/Ph7mTboTFq
— ❄️Snowflake Sam (@Samoday25) June 5, 2019
In August 2018, she imparted a similar message on Facebook, writing, “Difficult times may be there too. No matter how difficult they are. Go on… and get up again.” She also posted photos of herself with friends, with family, and with baby bunnies. In May 2018, she wrote on Facebook: “This is the end of the beginning.” In March 2018, she wrote, “Animals are the best therapists.”
Pothoven Died in an ‘End of Life Clinic’ at Her Own Home
According to the Sun, the teenager was euthanized in her home in what the site called an “end-of-life clinic bed in her living room in the Netherlands.”
да ви го е.. општествово вакво што го правите. ајде што чекате, формирајте некое НВО финансирано од Холандска амбасада нека промовира и тука еутаназија на 17г без одобрение на родители поради пострауматски синдром, депресија и анорексија. pic.twitter.com/gExQX8x88R
— Гемиџија од АлиеХпрес #БојкотирамСеверна (@gemidzija_aliex) June 5, 2019
According to the Sun, Noa was assaulted when she was 11 and 12 at “children’s parties” and then was raped by two men at age 14.
She approached the assisted suicide clinic without her family’s knowledge at first and was initially told she didn’t qualify. “Half a year ago a 16-year-old girl from Arnhem approached the Levenseind clinic in The Hague without her parents’ knowledge. Her question: am I eligible for euthanasia or assistance with suicide? The answer was ‘no.’” explained the site Gederlander, which included a video interview with Noa.
“They think I’m too young to die. They think I should complete the trauma treatment and that my brain must first be fully grown. That lasts until you are 21. I’m devastated, because I can’t wait that long anymore,” she told the site then.
In the Netherlands, Children as Young as 12 Can be Euthanized
According to the Sun, Dutch minister Lisa Westerveld visited the teenager before she was euthanized.
However, according to the British news site, euthanasia – even of children – is legal in the Netherlands in certain circumstances. If a doctor is willing to sign off that a person’s suffering is “unbearable with no clear resolution in sight,” youths as young as 12 qualify for euthanization in that country, the Sun reported.
Noa Pothoven was failed by everyone around her. Depression & PTSD are tough demons, but they can be fought with proper help. Instead Noa believed the lie that her life wasn’t worth living & her family SUPPORTED her assisted suicide. This story is horrific all around
— Ashley Ludgate (@Ashleylud1980) June 5, 2019
According to Euro News, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium “are the only countries in the European Union that allow voluntary euthanasia.”
A 2017 report of the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee did find some concern over the practice. “…in autumn 2017 a number of psychiatrists publicly called into question the practice of euthanasia in cases involving patients with a psychiatric disorder. Whether a psychiatric patient who requests euthanasia is decisionally competent and has exhausted all treatment options is a question that, in their opinion, can often only be answered by the attending psychiatrist,” the report said.
Most cases, though, involved patients suffering from ailments like “cancer, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary diseases, early-stage dementia, a combination of these conditions, or multiple geriatric syndromes,” the report said. The report found 3,384 males were euthanized that year, and 3,201 females. “This is 4.4% of the total number of people who died in the Netherlands in that year,” indicated the report. “In 83 notified cases of euthanasia the patient’s suffering was caused by a psychiatric disorder.”
— Claro DeLuna (@clarodelunaazul) June 5, 2019
The report also broke down the ages of those euthanized in 2017, the latest year for which a report is available. “The highest number of notifications of euthanasia involved people in their seventies (2,002 cases, 30.4%), followed by people in their
eighties (1,634 cases, 24.8%) and people in their sixties (1,405 cases, 21.3%),” says the report.
“In 2017 the RTEs received three notifications of euthanasia involving a minor between the ages of 12 and 17. There were 73 notifications concerning people aged between 18 and 40. In 46 of these cases, the patient’s suffering was caused by cancer and in 13 cases it was caused by a psychiatric disorder.”