Suicide in the Baltics highest in the world

The Baltic Times
Monika Hanley
April 11, 2008

Considering the situation in which many rural Lithuanians live, it’s not surprising that many turn to a way to end it all. With houses so cold that ice sometimes forms on the inside walls, many of the rural jobless start drinking early in the morning.

Suicide is common, rural Lithuanians say, since joining the EU in 2004, the economy has seen rapid growth, but only for urban areas.

Lithuania has been ranked number one in the world for the highest amount of recorded suicides last year, at 42 per every 100000 inhabitants by the World Health Organization. Russia comes second at around 37 deaths and Latvia and Estonia came in at number 4 and 5 respectively.

Lithuanians are aware of the problems they face, but say there is little they can do. Older citizens cannot adapt and there is little to no training to reintegrate older people into society.

However there is a bright side. Urban area groups, having seen recent monetary success due to economic revival, have started several new programs designed to help those jobless in the rural areas of Lithuania, in hopes of turning the situation around and creating a more vibrant economic that all can benefit from and hopefully decreasing the suicide rate.

Thousands from Lithuania have immigrated to the UK and Ireland in hopes of finding an opportunity to make more money. Though the jobs may not be an opportunity to improve skills, with teachers becoming mushroom pickers, but the chance to make more money is motivation enough.