Ethical and legal issues in mental health

Dear Colleagues,
 The ethical and legal terms and conditions for medical actions are extremely complex and flexible and their significance is more apparent in psychiatry and psychotherapy than in almost any other field. 

Whether the matter at hand is forming relationships with patients in a professional way, informational self-determination, the interaction of our work with society, politics and the economy, the avoidance of coercion, dealing with mentally ill offenders, or voluntary suicide, we must always not only know the legal rules but also ask ourselves what is morally right and where ethical dilemmas manifest that need to be addressed.

When it comes to ethical questions in particular, we are all called upon to think for ourselves and express our thoughts. Medical ethics is not a rare and exotic topic, but a lived reality – as shown by the increasing number of institutions that are establishing clinical case consultations.

However, we should not just patiently adopt and apply new legal regulations but rather engage in lively discussions and critical scrutiny among ourselves and with other professionals. And, wherever possible, we should exert our influence on legislation, regardless of whether it concerns social law, regulations on professional fees, involuntary hospitalisation or assisted suicide.

Thus, there is plenty of material for lively professional discussions at the DGPPN Congress 2022, with its guiding theme “Ethical and legal issues in mental health”.

In addition, this annual expert summit on psychiatry and psychotherapy represents all aspects of the field and is thus a firmly established event for all professional groups in the field of mental health. The entire scientific programme will take place live on site in the CityCube Berlin and some of it will also be streamed live on the internet and will be available after the congress as on-demand videos.

We look forward to welcoming you to the DGPPN Congress 2022.

Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Pollmächer

DGPPN President

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