SPD politician Michael Roth is withdrawing from politics for four weeks: he is on sick leave due to mental exhaustion. The chairman of the foreign affairs committee speaks openly about his problems.

Michael Roth has been seen on television again and again in recent weeks, he discussed the Ukraine war on talk shows, and the SPD politician even traveled to the war zone with colleagues from the traffic light coalition. But now the 51-year-old wants to step back. He has announced a break due to mental health issues.

“On the advice of my doctor, I will take a break from traffic for a while,” Roth announced in “Spiegel”. He will no longer give interviews, keep appointments and will not be available. On his Twitter account, Roth, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, also announced radio silence until July. So he wants to regain the mental balance that he had apparently lost recently.

Michael Roth: “I had the feeling I was jumping from floe to floe in the polar sea”

In the “Spiegel” Roth reports on mental exhaustion, which has been plaguing him for some time: “I had the feeling that I was jumping from floe to floe in the Arctic Ocean, and they gradually got smaller.” He had “fear of failure”, “panic of what was to come”: “I didn’t know that until then. It was clear: I need help.” Roth has been in treatment since the beginning of the year and things are getting better now. In June he is on sick leave for four weeks.

Michael Roth has been a member of the Bundestag since 1998 and was Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office from 2013 to 2021. The SPD man is considered a proven expert on foreign policy. In the Bundestag elections last year, he ran as the top candidate for the Hessian SPD.

The curse of social media

A successful career as a politician, which, however, also took its toll on Roth. “It’s a kick to have defended your mandate after a sometimes damn difficult election campaign,” he admits in “Spiegel”. Social media also had a big impact on him: “There’s a tremendous appeal in looking at how often I’m quoted, how many appearances I have, how many followers. That’s the currency today and it’s hard to stand up for yourself to get rid of it.”

Sources: “Spiegel” / Michael Roth on Twitter