Martyna Milieskaite1, Virginija Karaliene2, Sigita Lesinskienė3
1Vilnius City Public Health Bureau, Vilnius, Lithuania
2Karoliniškių Outpatient Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania
3Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychiatric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania
Objective: To estimate the prevalence and causation of deliberate self-harm, attempted suicide, bullying and cyber- bullying and to assess bullying association with suicidal and self-harm behavior among adolescents in Lithuania.
Methods: Data come from large adolescent health research, which was conducted during 2012 spring in Lithuania. The sample included 44 public middle and high schools in four randomly selected geographic regions of Lithuania. All pupils of 7-10 grades in every school were interviewed. Administrational judgement towards the aims and intentions of the study was positive and all originally selected schools agreed to participate. Anonymous questionnaire was completed by 3858 participants. Duly completed and used for data analysis were 3126 (81%) questionnaires.
Results: Data showed that 38.6% of students were bullied in at least one place. 28.7% of respondents reported being bullied in school environment, 10.7% – outside the school and 12.2% – in cyberspace. 40.3% of respondents bullied others in at least one place. 34.4% of respondents bullied others in school, 21.9% – outside the school, 9.9% – in cyberspace. Girls were bullied more often than boys but boys tended to bully others. 37.0% of respondents indicated that they thought about committing suicide, 12.9% indicated that they thought about it seriously and 5.8% noted that they tried to commit suicide. 12.9% of respondents harmed themselves. The most common forms of direct self-harm were self-cutting and self-beating (55.0% and 28.0%). 43.7% of respondents used alcohol and 24.9% smoked. Bullying is statistically significantly associated with suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempt, self-harm, alcohol use and smoking.
Conclusions: Specialists who work with children should be able to detect self-harming behavior, assess suicide risk and arrange treatment strategies. Community education on youth mental health issues together with implementation of systematic long-term prevention and early intervention should be more actively implemented and made a priority in our country.