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Lithuania's suicide rate remains the highest in the world

Danuta Pavilenene, BC, Vilnius, 12.09.2008.Print version
According to statistics, Lithuania ranks the first place in the world as to the number of suicides, Radio Vilnius reported.

Last year alone, 1,025 people committed suicides in Lithuania.


Psychologists and psychiatrists point out that no measures have been taken in the suicide prevention field.


Habilitate Doctor Danute Gailiene from the Psychological department at Vilnius University has been studying reasons for suicides as well as social economic consequences for many years already.


"I should say that the statistics of suicides has started improving a bit. No studies have been conducted regards the reasons for suicide so far, thus it is difficult to give a definite answer, why these numbers increase or decrease. Among the most frequent reasons of suicides, I should point out economic-social conditions, a lack of help and society's attitude towards suicide. Specialists should regularly analyze those reasons and apply necessary measures to eliminate them," the expert noted.


According to her, so far, no serious measures have been taken to solve this problem:


"There were no national programmes devoted for prevention of suicides. Of course, with every year the number of suicides in Lithuania has been decreasing. As there was no serious research conducted in this sphere we can only guess the reasons why it happened. Skeptics, of course, could say that the number of registered suicides has fallen down or maybe those people who have an inclination for suicides simply emigrated from Lithuania. But we do not know that for sure, as nobody monitored the situation. Every civilized state must take care of its people's health by proposing ways of preventing suicides."


Ona Davidoniene, the Director of the State Mental Health Centre, confirms that the number of suicides has been gradually decreasing: "For instance, in the years 2000 – 2002 Lithuania lost over 1,500 of people per year. Meanwhile, last year the number of suicides lowered to 1000. So, the statistics have really improved. Also, the number of suicides has been decreasing in all age and social groups. Not so long ago the most risky group was men that live in the country. Lately, the situation as regards suicides has changed for the better in that social group as well. Nevertheless, the rate of suicides in Lithuania is still high and it should be lowered down by all means. I think that Lithuania and other states that have high rate of suicides face not only medical problem but other problems as well."


Davidoniene emphasized that this year the Minister of Health approved the Family Health program which is important since a lot of pains hide inside family life.


Experts notice that it is very important for all the people to be as sensitive and attentive towards each other as possible.

"Usually people around do not notice it until it is too late. However, if people were more sensitive and gave more time to each other they would help to prevent the serious stage of disease," a psychiatrist Stefa Naujokiene stressed.

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