Chairwoman German Ethics Council calls for better suicide prevention


Central Europe


Chairwoman of the German Ethics Council, Elena Buyx. Photo Wikimedia Commons

Bridge designs, urban planning, and loneliness should all be considered when finding new and better ways of suicide prevention. That is what Alena Buyx, the chairwoman of the German Ethics Council, thinks. She pleads for better policies to decrease the number of suicides.

Even though Buyx does not expect Germany to become a society that propagates and stimulates suicide, she argues that social pressure can play a role in people's decisions to end their lives. Buyx said so in an interview with SWR. She points out that "suicide can actually be contagious in certain vulnerable groups." That means, according to her, that suicide prevention is the responsibility of society as a whole. "It is important to ensure that a social climate that exerts social pressure does not develop."


The German Medical Association is another party that calls for better suicide prevention. Society must discuss ways of catching people who suffer from depression or loneliness and therefore consider suicide, its president, Klaus Reinhardt, argued, as reported by Die Tagespost.

About 90 per cent of all suicides are related to mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia and addictions, says Ulrich Hegerl, the German Depression Aid Foundation chairman. He is afraid that new legislation on euthanasia and assisted suicide will normalise the taboo on the topic, which might increase the number of "lonely suicides."


Currently, the German Bundestag is considering three proposals related to the end of life. The Parliament is expected to make a decision later this year. In September, the German Ethics Council ruled that legislation on assisted suicide could be implemented justifiably. That was reported earlier by CNE.news. Yet, the advisory body did not give any recommendations as to how to implement such laws.



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