Who is Lebenshilfe?
Lebenshilfe was established in 1958 by today's honorary chairman Dr h. c. Tom Mutters, affected parents and experts in Marburg as a charitable association. Thirteen years after the end of the national socialist terror regime that resulted in the murder of more than 200.000 disabled people, this commitment meant a fresh start in society.
Today, Lebenshilfe has more than 135.000 members, who are organised in 527 local and district associations of Lebenshilfe. Every federal state has its own Lebenshilfe state association. The federal association campaigns nationally for the concerns of people with mental disabilities and their families; its offices are located in Marburg and Berlin.
Committed to the self-help idea, Lebenshilfe is an independent and charitable association for people with mental disabilities, their families, experts and friends. Lebenshilfe is, on the one hand, the biggest representative of the interests of people with mental disabilities and their families and, on the other hand, offers more than 3.200 services and facilities specific support in all areas of life. The work of Lebenshilfe is supported nationally by a large number of volunteers and salaried employees.
What is the objective of Lebenshilfe?
The objective of Lebenshilfe is the well-being of people with mental disability and their families. It is committed to ensuring that disabled people can live as normally and independently as possible from childhood to a high age and that they are given the aids and support they need to do so.
Lebenshilfe represents the interests of people with mental disability and their family members, rejects discrimination and social exclusion and campaigns for acceptance, respect and recognition.
Lebenshilfe wishes to show that mental disability is an expression of human life, which by no means depreciates the value of life. The sentence nobody may be discriminated against for their disability, which is part of the constitution, must become reality in all areas of life.
What does mental disability mean?
Mental disability is not a sickness. It means an impairment to the mental capabilities of a person. Not affected by it are other characteristics, such as the ability to read, be creative, the sense of joy and make friends.
People with a mental disability often need help and support. By promoting and accompanying them, they can learn to lead a life that fulfils their needs and that is by no means below that of people without disabilities. This applies for people of all ages, also with severe or multiple disabilities.
How does mental disability arise?
Mental disabilities can affect any family. There are many reasons for them. One example is a certain arrangement of the DNA, as with Down syndrome. But disabilities can also be triggered by complications during birth, i.e., insufficient supply of oxygen. Sicknesses or injuries, for instance in the event of accidents, can also result in a mental disability.
How many mentally disabled people live in Germany?
Some 420.000 people with a mental disability live in Germany, about six of every thousand children who are born are mentally disabled.
All people with a mental disability and their families in Germany benefit from the work of Lebenshilfe as the representative of their social and political interests. A total of 170.000 disabled children, adolescents and adults are directly supported and challenged by Lebenshilfe. Lebenshilfe also supports international projects for mentally disabled people.
What is the structure of Lebenshilfe?
The Lebenshilfe federal association is managed by an honorary board, of which more than 50 per cent are disabled people, parents and family members under its charter.
The federal board is elected by the top committee of Lebenshilfe – the meeting of its members, which consists of local and district associations as well as the state associations of Lebenshilfe.
The federal board works closely with the Federal Chamber, of which the chairmen of the federal associations are members. In accordance with the self-help idea, these committees are backed up by the council of disabled people and the federal parents’ council. Expert committees and project groups develop specific task areas. This democratic structure ensures that the variedness of the members of Lebenshilfe is represented. The work of Lebenshilfe is characterised by the current state-of-the-art of expertise and personal experience of the persons affected.
What does Lebenshilfe do?
Lebenshilfe provides information, advice and further education for mentally disabled people, their relatives and for employees of disabled peoples' support agencies.
Lebenshilfe runs more than 3.200 facilities and mobile or out-patient services throughout Germany to promote people with mental disabilities and to support their relatives, for instance:
early learning offices | family-relieving services | kindergartens and schools | workshops for disabled people | residences | leisure offers
All addresses and contact details for the Lebenshilfe associations on site and their facilities and services can be found on our Lebenshilfe map
Lebenshilfe represents the rights of people with mental disabilities and their families with the legislator and authorities, and advises on expert and legal questions.
With a broad range of books and brochures, specialist magazines and the Lebenshilfe gazette as well as on the internet, it provides information on the topic of "mental disability" and thereby works towards overcoming stigmas in our society.
Many offers, such as the "Simple Language" (Leichte Sprache)
internet portal, are directly targeted to people with mental disabilities.
Your commitment counts!
By supporting Lebenshilfe, you are making a contribution to improving the living situation of people with mental disabilities in our country, overcoming stigmas and discrimination and designing a humane society.
We will be delighted to inform you of our work and the varied options of strengthening the work of Lebenshilfe through membership, through financial support or through voluntary work.
Please feel free to write to or phone us. We look forward to hearing from you.
für Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung e.V.
Raiffeisenstrasse 18, 35043 Marburg
Tel: 064 21 491-0
Fax: 064 21 4 91-167