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German Ethics Council publishes statement on suicide

On Thursday September 22, the German Ethics Council presented a statement “Suicide – Responsibility, Prevention and Free Responsibility” (see below).

Our German member (DGHS) welcomes the associated suggestion to expand offers for suicide prevention over the entire lifespan and for all relevant areas of life. However, in order to be able to really do justice to individual life situations, there must not be a misleading equation of persons who are in a suicidal crisis with those who have developed a desire to commit suicide. It should also be emphasized that a desire to commit suicide usually does not develop out of a pathologically shaped suicidal desire that grows out of desperation.

DGHS President Robert Roßbruch emphasizes: “Volunteers come through a rational, often accounting and various alternatives taking into account re-flexion process freely to a personal decision to want to end their lives self-determined and look for suicide assistance. Such a desire to commit suicide has no pathological background and therefore should not be pathologized incorrectly. The volunteers do not choose suicide because they no longer see any other way out, but because among the available options this is the one that most closely corresponds to their understanding of self-determination and fulfillment of meaning.”

According to Roßbruch, support for people willing to commit suicide should not be characterized by a paterna-listic gesture which, under the guise of a seemingly open-ended counseling service, aims to offer them a life bond that contradicts their own consolidated will. According to Roßbruch, an expansion of sui-zid prevention services is necessary for people who are looking for a way out but can no longer find one. However, an expansion of offers for people who have already found their way for themselves in a free and permanent manner and want to put it into practice safely, protectedly and painlessly is equally necessary.