About the project
Rotary International Global Grant Project #1743565 “Suicide prevention model and its application in the municipalities of Lithuania – SUPREME AIM” is one of the core priorities in the long-term program on suicide prevention of the Rotary International District 1462 (operating since 1 JUL 2014). During the first District conference held in September 2014 experts of suicide prevention from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Department of Health Psychology and Vilnius University Department of Clinical and Organizational Psychology have identified suicide as a serious problem in Lithuania. The second District conference held in October 2015 was named “The role of contemporary leader in the prevention of suicides“. Conference resolution „For the more active and wide-ranging actions to solve the problem of suicides in Lithuania” was addressed to the State institutions, local Municipalities, elaborating on a possible contribution of Rotarians of the District. This marked the beginning of the activities of the Rotarians from the District as well as with involvement of international partners.
Location and Dates. Project will be implemented during 01 SEP 2018 to 31 AUG 2020 in 11 municipalities (districts Akmene, Anyksciai, Druskininkai, Kupiskis, Marijampole, Panevezys, Pasvalys, Silute, Taurage, Ukmerge, Vilkaviskis) of Lithuania with direct participation of local Rotary clubs.
Project description. For more than ten past years, the suicide rate in Lithuania has been one of the highest in the world and the highest in Europe showing negative trends. It has remained above 30 per 100.000 inhabitants exceeding the European average of 9.4 by more than three times. The numbers are especially high in the rural areas of Lithuania, some of which exceeding the Lithuanian average by two times. It translates to 800-1000 deaths by suicide every year in the country.
Local Rotary clubs were asked to engage with the leaders of the Municipalities where the suicide rate during last 6 years has been highest. 11 municipalities were selected based on suicides statistical data from 2011-2016 and the initiative of local administrations and Rotary clubs to participate in the project. Members of the local Rotary clubs got feedback and gained understanding about the need and the local willingness to run such type of projects for the community. This resulted in the signature of MOU with 11 beneficiaries, where the role of local Municipality, local Rotary club, District and International partner (District 2305) is described and fixed. Project was presented during annual meeting of RAG on Mental Health Initiatives, held in RI convention in Atlanta 2017, and got professional support.
The main objective of this humanitarian project in the area of focus „Disease prevention and treatment“ with the budget of 91700 USD is to establish a systematic approach to the suicide prevention and create / activate the platform for sustainable process by:
- Capitalizing on the experience of experts with European qualification standard (EuroPsy) and with solid track record in local and global successful projects, developing the community-based suicide prevention model based on the algorithm of communication and cooperation of the local institutions at the front line of suicide acts, attempts and intentions.
- Organizing training addressed to the front line institutions (police, healthcare, firefighters, social care, education, church representatives, emergency, psychologists) and local communities enabling them to act in suicide related emergency situations.
- Providing psychological help to inhabitants, families, relatives in risk situations or after suicide happens.
- Monitoring and evaluating outcomes and presenting implementation process on the website of the project.
The funding was secured from 26 actors, including DDF‘s from D1462 (Lithuania), D2305, D2290 (Norway), D2240 (Czech and Slovak republics), special account for suicide prevention of D1462 and Rotary clubs from Lithuania (11 above mentioned local RC’s and Kaunas RC, Klaipeda Concordia 1826 RC), Norway (Fraena RC, Gjovik RC), Poland (Bartoszyce-Lidzbark RC, Gizycko RC, Olsztyn RC, Sopot International RC), Latvia (Riga Ridzene RC) and USA (RC of Howard West) with 37900 USD part from TRF.
Beneficiaries. Inhabitants (total lives 353.110) in 99 elderships with functioning suicide prevention system and improved access to psychological help.
D1462 PDG 2014/15 Dr. Vygintas Grinis
In 2015 the Ministry of Health of the Respublic of Lithuania received Rotary International District 1462 conference resolution “For the more active and wide-ranging actions to solve the problem of suicides in Lithuania”.
Rotarians of Lithuania proposed to the state institutions and society to identify the problem of suicides as one of the most important national health and social problems, the solution of which needed to involve state resources and public forces. It was stressed that Lithuanian Rotary community will act to put local communities at the forefront of suicide prevention and use its leadership, competence, social skills, international relations and resources to better address the problem of suicides.
Strengthening mental health is one of the priorities of the Goverment of the Republic of Lithuania. Special attention is given to the reduction of the number of suicides in the state. The upcoming anticipated step is the creation of an early suicide identification and complex assistance system. In the Plan of the implementation of the Goverment’s program there is Work No. 1.4.3 “Development of the system for early possible suicides recognition and providing complex assistence”.
The two activities could be mentioned:
5. training of specialists, who are in contact with suicide risk persons, to identify and organize necessary assistance;
6 optimizing the activities of mental health centers, ensuring better availability of primary mental health care services by attracting more specialists (psychotherapists, psychologysts).
Therefore, the proposed activities of the project “Suicide prevention model and its application in the municipalities of Lithuania” fully align with the program of the Goverment and are in compliance with above mentioned activities.
The involvement of the 11 municipalities (Marijampolė, Vilkaviškis district, Šilutė district, Tauragė district, Akmenė district, Kupiškis district, Pasvalys district, Anykščiai district, Ukmergė district, Panevėžys district, Druskininkai) will help to achieve the raised goal in the Goverment’s program – to decrease moratlity due to suicides (mortality rate per 100 thousand inhabitants) from 30.8 in the year 2015 to 19.5 in the year 2020.
Emotional support services can make substancial changes
Nerimą kelianti statistika – Lietuvos vaikai nelaimingiausi Europoje, o jaunų žmonių savižudybių skaičiumi pirmaujame visame senajame žemyne. Šią situaciją pakeisti siekia nemokama emocinę paramą telefonu ir internetu teikiančios savanoriškos tarnybos – “Vaikų linija” ir “Jaunimo linija”. Deja, atsiliepti į visų skambinančiųjų pagalbos šauksmus šios tarnybos nepajėgios dėl lėšų trūkumo.
I’m glad to be in touch with your activities.
“Kupiškis virusas” would be a great scientific discovery”.
From Rotarian Action Groups 2017 Annual Report:
Suicide Prevention in Lithuania – In partnership with Rotary District 1462, the RAG supported a program that aims to reduce suicide rate in Lithuania, which is currently as high as 9.4%. The program entails (1) the development of a local community-based suicide prevention model based on the algorithm of communication and cooperation of the local institutions at the front line of suicide acts, attempts and intentions, and (2) the implementation of the model by series of training addressed to the front line institutions (police, healthcare, social care, education, emergency, etc.) and local communities, enabling them to act in an effective and coordinated way in suicide related emergency situations as well as have effective prevention tools. RAGMHI’s Vice Chair Geetha Jayaram and other two RAG officers, who are certified in Suicide Prevention training in th US and Canada, provided consultation on the program.
“In the field of war, you are not asking what are person’s faith, attitude or political views. In the field of war you have to band the wounds. In this sense, these people are victims of the war field. Often the war in which they find themselves, not even theirs” says Catholic bishop Kęstutis Kėvalas, who talked to the representative of the social project “Bridges of the help”. Often the priests are approached by errant souls, not only dependent persons, but also with mental disorders, depressed, even thinking about suicide? “Often enough. Especially when people come confessional in the church or on duty at the office. Each priest faces such people because they desperately seek help. The priest has a great task of separating when there is a disease, and when a person is seeking spiritual help. In case of illness, priests are encouraged to refer people to professional medical care – specialists. Unfortunately, it’s not always lucky. Some are offensive: you didn’t understand me, you thought me as a mental patient! But I think that telling the truth to a human helps more than clinging to reality. Maybe not accepting that idea at first, he will return to the priest’s words and will go to the specialists”.