German MPs want to strengthen suicide prevention


Central Europe


Photo AFP, John MacDougall

While the German Bundestag is redefining the law on assisted suicide, some parliamentarians are calling for a law to strengthen suicide prevention. German Christian associations support this.

In 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the German parliament had to re-regulate suicide assistance. The court ruled that the law must respect people's will to die. Laws on this subject are currently being discussed in the Bundestag.

However, some MPs fear that the new regulation could make assisted suicide a normal form of dying. Therefore they demand an additional application to prevent suicidal intentions and to enable those willing to die to lead a self-determined life instead. "Against the background of easier access to assisted suicide and due to psychological stress as a result of the corona pandemic, it is necessary to further strengthen suicide prevention", Lars Castellucci (SPD) and Ansgar Heveling (CDU/CSU) say.

According to the Christian German magazine PRO, more than 9,000 people choose suicide in Germany every year. This means that around three times as many people die from suicide in this country yearly as from traffic accidents. According to estimates, the number of suicide attempts is about ten times as high. Castellucci wants to do "everything to ensure that people have the will to live or find it again". "If instead, assisted suicide became more and more normal, that would also have consequences for society as a whole: the pressure on vulnerable groups, especially older people, would increase."

The Evangelical Alliance in Germany (EAD) welcomed the initiative to strengthen suicide prevention. "As Christians, we have the responsibility to stand by people in sickness and crises," explained the EAD policy officer, Uwe Heimowski. It has been part of Christian history for centuries to help physically and mentally ill people.

The German Caritas Association and Diakonie Germany also consider a law to improve suicide prevention urgently needed. In June, the two welfare organizations called on the Bundestag to do more for suicide prevention instead of relying on euthanasia. "A suicide prevention law is absolutely necessary and would be a strong social signal from Parliament for an appropriate balance between protecting life and self-determination," said Diakonie President Ulrich Lilie.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.