Alvydas Benošis 1, Romas Raudys 1, Rimantas Laurinavičius 1, Alvydas Navickas 2
1 The State Forensic Medicine Service of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius, Lithuania
2 Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychiatric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania
Introduction: The results of forensic medical autopsies conducted in Lithuania comprise up to 98 percent of the data on the external causes of death provided to official statistics, including suicide.
Aim and methods: Several insights on suicide in Lithuania have been conducted based on the published forensic medical references of analysis on the causes of death.
Results: In Lithuania, the number of population having decreased by 20 percent since 1992, the rates of external causes of death and suicide have decreased as well. However, none essential factors determining the decrease in suicide rates have not been established. The persisting high suicide ratio among the external causes of death, as well as a high suicide ratio among the cases of alcohol intoxication shows that in Lithuania, the alcohol consumption reduction and suicide prevention measures have not been duly used and were ineffective. Suicide cases comprised more than one fourth of the total number of deaths due to external causes: in 1985 – 2012 – 26,8%. This ratio did not change much. In 1985 – 2014 the prevailing rate of suicide by hanging among the external causes of death was 24,1%.
A high correlation between consumption of alcohol and the suicide rate is observed; so the forecasting of specific suicide prevention strategies requires a detailed study on the effects of consumed alcohol on suicides. The improvement of the quality of pre-trial investigation requires the involvement of psychologists and psychiatrists, in order to define and assess the suicide causation and to establish appropriate suicide prevention strategies.
Conclusions: The forensic medical examination data of suicide cases and their assessment results can be significant for the suicide causation and prevention. Not all information on suicides is recorded in official statistics. Only the use of the pre-trial investigation data facilitates objectivisation of the suicide rate. Based on the data of forensic medical overview on suicides, it is not possible to connect a partial reduction in the suicide rate with particular prevention strategies implemented.