Is Noa Pothoven Living or Dead?

Has Dutch mental health activist and author Noa Pothoven died? Or is she still alive?

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Dutch mental health activist and author

Noa Pothoven is ...

Born 18 Dec 2001 in Arnhem
Died 2 Jun 2019 in Netherlands
Age17 years, 5 months

About Noa Pothoven

Noa Pothoven (December 18, 2001 – June 2, 2019) was a Dutch mental health activist and author. Pothoven's death at the age of 17 sparked global controversy due to public statements she made about her wish to die, her activism concerning youth mental health care, and foreign media reports that incorrectly attributed her eventual death to active euthanasia. Many foreign news outlets wrongfully stated Pothoven was euthanised under the Dutch 2001 Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act.


In May 2019, Pothoven stopped eating and drinking. She had previously been put into an induced coma in 2018 so doctors could feed her through a feeding tube, but Pothoven's family decided to respect her decision in 2019, and provide only palliative care. On May 30, 2019, Pothoven made a final Instagram post in which she said: "After years of battling and fighting, I am drained. 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." On June 2, 2019, Pothoven's sister confirmed her death at the age of 17. Pothoven spent her last days in a hospital bed in her family's living room while saying goodbye to her friends and family.

Many news outlets outside the Netherlands initially reported her death as an assisted suicide under the Dutch euthanasia law. Some reported that she was given a lethal injection. Reactions condemning assisted suicide included a tweet by Pope Francis.

Reporters from several countries sought out Pothoven's family days after her death. The family responded in the Dutch media about their regrets that it has been suggested in foreign media that their daughter died from active euthanasia and said they "hope that her story serves a higher purpose and that help provided to vulnerable young people with psychological problems in the Netherlands will be improved. Noa pleaded for an institution where young people like herself can go for both the psychological and physical help they need." Some media published corrections to their initial accounts.