Suicide in Lithuania

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Suicide in Lithuania has become a significant social issue in the country due to its high rate.[1] Since its peak in 1995, the suicide rate in Lithuania has been constantly decreasing,[2] but it still remains the highest in the EU and the OECD.[3]

The suicide rate as of 2019 is 20.2 suicides per 100,000 people.[4]


In 1990s, after the fall of communism, Lithuania experienced dramatic social and economic changes. Earlier studies attributed high suicide rate to the effects of these major transformations in the society, harsh economic conditions, declining living conditions, alcoholism as well as lack of psychological and psychiatric services.[1][5][6] More recent studies suggest that the causes might be more complex.

According to Onutė Davidonienė, the director of the State Mental Health Center, there are psychological and economic reasons behind the high suicide rate, including: economic recessions, alcoholism, lack of tolerance in the society, bullying.[7]

Kalėdienė et al noted that the suicide rate is significantly higher amongst the less educated and especially rural populations.[8] The suicide rates differ significantly between certain municipalities. The suicide rate in Kupiškis district municipality (over 70 out of 100,000 people) is more than two times higher than the national average as of 2017. Other municipalities with particularly high suicide rates are Varėna district municipality and Kalvarija Municipality (67 out of 100,000 people). In contrast, the numbers were the most modest in Palanga City Municipality (less than 15 out of 100,000 people), followed by Vilnius City Municipality and Plungė district municipality (15 out of 100,000 people respectively).[3]

There is a striking difference between male and female suicide rates in Lithuania. Baranov et al suggested that the traditional masculinity norms, associated with excessive drinking and stigma of seeking psychological help, may contribute to suicidal behaviours.[9][10] Several studies on relationship between the religiosity and suicide did not provide a conclusive insight on the causes of high rate.[5]

A statistical-econometrical study by Comunale (2020) found that the main factors which may be linked to suicides are: GDP growth, demographics, alcohol consumption, psychological factors and weather.[9] The same study noted that among the EU countries, Lithuania seems to be one of the most introverted populations, significantly more than Latvian and Estonian populations.

A report published in 2017 by the Suicide Prevention Bureau in Lithuania noted that the suicide rate amongst the prisoners and arrested individuals is several times higher than the country average.[11] The same report noted the insufficient availability of psychological services and a lack of suicide prevention in many municipalities.


In 2007, the Lithuanian parliament approved the National Mental Health Strategy based on the WHO Mental Health Declaration for Europe 2005. The country also adopted the Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2016-2020. In 2015, the Suicide Prevention Bureau (Lithuanian: Savižudybių prevencijos biuras) was established under the State Mental Health Centre.[12] In 2017, however, the National Audit Office of Lithuania concluded that there is still no comprehensive system to provide help for the individuals at risk of suicide.[13]


Suicide rates (per 100,000), by gender, Lithuania
Gender 1981 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2019
Male 59.4 58.0 44.3 79.1 75.6 68.1 56.1 51.7 36.1
Female 10.7 12.9 9.7 15.6 16.1 12.9 9.6 8.9 6.2
Total 33.6 34.1 26.1 45.6 44.1 38.6 31.3 28.9 20.2
Source: World Health Organization[14][4]
Number of suicides by age group and gender. Lithuania, 2009
Age (years) 5–14 15–24 25–34 35–44 45–54 55–64 65–74 75+ All
Males 3 109 116 195 233 148 91 57 952
Females 2 16 15 26 39 27 21 40 186
Total 5 125 131 221 272 175 112 97 1138
Source: World Health Organization[14]

Notable people who died by suicide in Lithuania[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Nerijus Adomaitis (9 April 2008). "Suicides in Lithuania show social pains persist". Reuters. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Suicides in Lithuania decrease, still above EU average". Lithuanian Radio and Television. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Savižudybių statistika". State Mental Health Centre.
  4. ^ a b "GHO | By category | Suicide rate estimates, age-standardized - Estimates by country". WHO. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Suicide in Eastern Europe, the CIS, and the Baltic Countries: Social and Public Health Determinants" (PDF). The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. February 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  6. ^ Rahman Haghighat (November 1997). "Psychiatry in Lithuania: the highest rate of suicide in the world" (PDF). Psychiatric Bulletin. 21 (11): 716–719. doi:10.1192/pb.21.11.716.
  7. ^ "Pradeda veikti Savižudybių prevencijos biuras". Lithuanian Radio and Television. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  8. ^ Ramune Kalediene, Skirmante Starkuviene, Jadvyga Petrauskiene (2006). "Social dimensions of mortality from external causes in Lithuania: do education and place of residence matter?". Sozial- und Präventivmedizin. 51 (4): 232–239. doi:10.1007/s00038-006-4069-y. PMID 17193785. S2CID 23510788.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b Mariarosaria Comunale (July 2020). "The persistently high rate of suicide in Lithuania: an updated view" (PDF). Bank of Lithuania. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  10. ^ Victoria Baranov, Ralph De Haas, Pauline A. Grosjean (12 October 2018). "Men. Roots and Consequences of Masculinity Norms". UNSW Business School Research Paper. SSRN 3185694.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Sveikatos priežiūros paslaugų su savižudybės rizika susijusiems asmenims prieinamumo vertinimas" (PDF) (in Lithuanian). Suicide Prevention Bureau under the State Mental Health Centre. 2017.
  12. ^ "Savo veiklą pradėjo Savižudybių prevencijos biuras". Ministry of Health (Lithuania). 2 January 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Suicide prevention and aid to individuals related to the risk of suicide". National Audit Office of Lithuania. 23 February 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Suicide rates (per 100,000), by gender, Lithuania, 1981-2009" (PDF). World Health Organization. Retrieved 3 December 2012.