Suicide prevention: An expert wants a roundtable in Bremen 2

Suicide prevention: An expert wants a roundtable in Bremen

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Serena Balancers and
Madita Thomas

More than 9,000 people commit suicide in Germany annually – especially the young. How widespread is the problem in Bremen and what is the city doing about it?

A woman with a handkerchief sits in front of a psychologist in a therapy session

Suicide is still a taboo topic in society. According to experts, it is important to report on the topic critically and objectively.

Image: DPA | Christin Klose

For the tenth time, the Mental Health Week is being organized in Bremen. Between October 7 and 13, mental health events will take place at several locations in the city. This includes suicide prevention.

Across the country, one assumes more than 9,000 suicides per year. The dark figure is certainly higher, experts say. Reporting on this topic is often difficult because the risk of imitation is very high with suicide. Uwe Gonther, a psychiatrist at the Ameos Clinic in Bremen, explains in an interview how to talk about suicide and where relatives and suicides can seek help.

Mr. Gonther, how widespread is the problem in Bremen?
Bremen State Bureau of Statistics statistics are usually published only two years later. Usually Bremen and Bremerhaven are always in the middle of the pitch. It has been observed that there are unusually high rates of young women being killed in both cities. But on the whole it is difficult to give exact numbers. Because there may be cases where the exact circumstances of the death could not be clarified or not acknowledged. We can assume that we now have about 100 cases a year in the state. About one percent of the national number. The number of unreported cases is certainly higher.
What is the city doing against it?
There are mergers in Bremen organized not by the city, but by psychotherapists and psychiatric clinics. He calls himself the "Alliance Against Depression." And there is a high density of psychotherapists and other services: telephone counseling, counseling, support groups and social psychiatric services. However, there is no targeted suicide prevention program for Bremen. There is a German suicide prevention society, which is not so firmly anchored in Bremen. Of course, this is because we have limited resources.
Is suicide still a taboo topic in society?
I think it's still a taboo topic in public. It would be best if there was something like a roundtable on suicide prevention in the city. Psychiatrists, psychotherapists, pastoral workers and the media could come together and talk about how to deal with this topic.
Should the media report more on this topic or even less?
I think he needs a differentiated report rather – and without heroizing the work. The biggest danger of suicide reports is that there are imitators. But when critical and enlightening research is reported on the subject, there are even statistical observations that the number of suicides is decreasing. The media play an important role in this.
What can suicidal relatives do?
Talking and talking to others, problem solving, help. It is also not true that people who threaten suicide will never do so. On the contrary, almost everyone who kills or tries to speak has at least hinted.
And for relatives who lost someone, there is in Bremen, for example, the "Agus – suicide relatives" group. You can talk to others about it here and seek support.

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