In 2015, the organisation Exit helped 213 people in French-speaking Switzerland die, 18% more than in 2014. In German-speaking Switzerland the figure was 782, 30% higher than the year before. Recently released statistics show the number has risen more than 12-fold since 2001 among French-speakers. This rise in suicide numbers is broadly in line with the increase in Exit’s membership numbers. Since 2010, the number of members of Exit’s suisse romande association has grown steadily from 15,757 to 22,214, a rise of 40%. Awareness has also increased. Dr. Jérôme Sobel, the president of Exit suisse romande, said “People know the process operates within a lawful framework”.
Exit has two associations. One based in French-speaking Switzerland (suisse romande), and another in the German-speaking part, which covers Switzerland’s German and Italian-speaking regions. Total membership across both totaled close to 118,000 at the end of 2015, between 1% and 2% of Switzerland’s population. The services of both associations are offered free to paid up members. Recent members (less than 0ne year) wanting assistance are asked for a contribution of CHF 350 in suisse romande and CHF 900 by the other association covering the rest of the country. Jérôme Sobel said each case costs the association CHF 2,900.
Regular members are asked to contribute CHF 40 each year.
67% of Exit members in suisse romande were women, most were aged between 51 and 75 (59%), and 33% were over 75. Of those who took their lives in 2015, 60% were women and 40% men. The average age was 79 for women and 78 for men. The youngest was a man of 25, while the oldest was a man of 99.
Applications for assistance are studied by doctors before being accepted. In suisse romande 299 of 309 applications were accepted in 2015. The most common reason for suicide was cancer. 88 of the 213 (41%) suicides in 2015, were cancer victims. Most (183 or 85%) chose to end their lives at home.