Background information about suicide

Each 53 minutes somebody in Germany takes his*her live. Each 4 minutes somebody tries it. These are more deaths through suicide than murder, traffic accidents, drug abuse and the consequences of AIDS combined. They estimate that the number of suicide attempts is ten times higher. Each suicide death leaves about six close people, who hardly know how to continue living. From 2015 to 2016 the number of suicides in Berlin rose significantly. Each year about 470 people from Berlin die through suicide. The assumption is that the estimated number of unreported and not as such identified cases of suicide is significantly higher.


“Suicide and suicide attempts are no problem of marginal groups, they are unexceptional. For each person, there can turn up a situation in which he or she believes that suicide is a solution.” Elderly people, youth, people with mental health problems or addiction and people who have lost a relative through suicide or survived a suicide attempt are higher at risk. Other vulnerable groups are people who are under pressure due to cultural adaption and relocation such as refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, people who identify as gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersexual, and people who experienced traumata or abuse.


Regardless, suicide is a taboo subject and goes along with fear and shame. In our society the myth continues that as soon as you talk about suicide the other person comes up with the idea. But talking and exchanging are effective aspects that can save lives.

How can I help?

Listen, listen, and listen.

Have a lot of patience and be understanding. Consider someone’s problem that seams minor to you, can be another person’s reason for suicide. Take it serious!

Asking for concrete thoughts and plans of suicide can help to identify how vulnerable the person is.

A quiet and direct conversation can relieve the person at risk, because he*she can talk to somebody about the excruciating suicide thoughts.

It is very important for yourself, to get help and assistance, and not to remain alone with the problems. Accompany the person concerned to a service organization, doctor or therapist.

Common misperceptions

People who talk about suicide do not suicide themselves. Those people, who really want to kill themselves, do not usually talk about it.

Wrong! About 80% of all suicides are announced beforehand.


Who once thought about suicide will always think about it.

Wrong! Especially for young people the thought of self-harm or suicide can indicate an acute crisis, which can be overcome alone or with external support.


To address possible suicide thoughts of a person just makes him*her come up with the idea.

Wrong! People who are not at risk, will not suicide themselves when you approach the topic. Those people who are at risk usually feel relieved being able to talk about it.