“Ten years ago Canada introduced several effective strategic measures on national level changing the attitude of people towards suicide. Today it can measure the result by hundreds of saved lifes. It takes long time before satisfactory results are achieved, therefore, the earlier they are introduced the better” said Brian L. Mishara, professor of Quebec University, former President of International Association of Suicide Prevention, well-known expert of the suicide prevention, who came to Vilnius for the Conference of Lithuanian Helpline Association and the discussion of most effective means of suicide prevention organized by GLL | Global Lithuanian Leaders which both took place on September 20th. During the discussion, experts from Canada, Denmark and UK shared the expertise, gave recommendations regarding the effectiveness of measures suggested by the initiative of GLL, and described measures that proved to have effect around the world in saving most vulnerable groups of society – middle-aged men and young people of 15-29 years of age.
The discussion was attended by representatives of GLL initiative Dr.V.Lašas, T.Langaitis, M.Glodas, A.Kaušpėdas, G.Steponavičius; senior advisor of the President V.Būdienė, representatives of helplines and psichological services, famous suicidology researchers, scientists and practitioners. All agree on one important conclusion – the immediate measures are essential.
Professor Brian L. Mishara emphasized the importance of specialized school and pre-school programs, well-educated help-line volunteers, cooperation among institutions (e.g. hospitals with helplines), media education in the suicide prevention. “Media forms the public opinion, therefore, sensational article headlines are prone to increase the number of suicide attempts. The first page stories about the problems and personal difficulties which forced prominent personalities to kill themselves, create the impression that fatal decisions attract desired public attention”, – told B.Mishara.
Daniel Whitbread and David Playfoot, both representing UK helpline organization “Samaritans”, drew everybody’s attention to the essential role of volunteers in the suicide prevention. Just by devoting their spare time to helplines, they materially decrease the number of suicide attempts in the country. “The best prevention is listening to desparate and lonely people and talking to them. We all can be a part of the process,” – concluded D. Whitbread.
Jeppe Kristen Toft, director of Livslinien (helpline in Denmark), noted that the cooperation between public initiatives and state institutions plays very important role in prevention efforts.
The inititative of GLL | Global Lithuanian Leaders presented for discussion and evaluation some projects from the action plan, formed by the group of prominent Lithuanian personalities after the World Lithuanian Economic Forum under the enthusiastic inititative of Antanas Mockus, famous Colombian Lithuanian. Such as “Every Single Person Counts” (community projects aimed to decrease the number of suicides within a region) and “Grown-up Playgrounds” (urban solutions for friendly environment). Foreign as well as Lithuanian experts had a chance to express their opinion and give valuable advise.
GLL | Global Lithuanian Leaders enthusiastically support the campaign of “Jaunimo linija” (Youth Line) – “Tyla žudo” (Silence Kills) – and invite everyone to contribute to it by visiting site www.tylazudo.lt and either volunteering at “Jaunimo linija”, or supporting “Jaunimo linija” financially, or spreading the word about the campaign. Every small attempt counts when people’s lives can be saved.
The discussion was initiated by board members of GLL and members of State Progress Council of the Progress Strategy “Lietuva 2030” Vladas Lašasand Tadas Langaitis with the intention to make concrete actions towards the decrease of suicide numbers in Lithuania. Such initiatives play essential role in the implementation of Lithuania’s Progress Strategy.