The report is presented by Altruism NGO, a pioneering organization in suicide prevention in R. Moldova, member of IASP, Befrienders International.
Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe with a population of about 2.5 million living in the country and 1 million living abroad.
Facts and figures about suicide in Moldova
The 2019 data from the WHO’s Global Health Observatory states that in 2019, the suicide rate in Moldova was 14.7, which was higher than the global average of 9.0 and the European average of 10.5. Moldova ranked 29th among 183 countries and territories in terms of suicide rate in 2019. The suicide rate in Moldova is 6 times higher for males than for females. The highest suicide rate was observed among people aged 70 years and over. Suicide was the 8th leading cause of deaths. The highest suicide rate was recorded in 2010, with 20.5 deaths per 100,000 population. Between 2000 and 2019, the suicide rate in Moldova decreased by 14.5%, from 17.2 to 14.7. There is no unified statistical procedures on suicide and suicide attempts in the country.
History of Suicide Prevention in R. Moldova
In 2012, when Altruism NGO organized the first public event, dedicated to International Suicide Prevention day, the Ministry of Health created an National Plan with intersectorial actions in the area. This approach is held up until today. National Plans, developed once in 5 years in the areas of mental health, human trafiking, women rights, violence prevention, etc. acts occasionally incorporate suicide prevention actions. Unfortunately, there is no strategic suicide prevention thinking and strategy, embraced by the authorities in R. Moldova.
In 2013 as a result of Altruism NGO lobby, National Child Protection Counsil organized a research on child suicide in R. Moldova and several laws introduced child protection in the media and against negative information.
In 2017, the Moldovan Parliament passed a report on suicide in R. Moldova, following an outbreak of the Blue Whale game in the country. Each governmental institution had to present the document with the actions in the area of suicide prevention. The Parliamental Comittee report is full of cliche and inadmissible terms for suicide-prevention-friendly legislation. The report can be found here https://www.parlament.md/LegislationDocument.aspx?Id=a8e29865-f1fb-469f-a2fe-08aaa97131c7 Altruism NGO withdrew from supporting the report as it was driven by the Blue Whale game public popularity, rather than strategic intent to approach suicide prevention consequently.
The Altruism NGO organizes lobby actions at National level, the organization of public events, communication with public figures and participation in television and radio broadcasts and advocates for suicide prevention policy at national level. Discussions were held with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Research and Ministry Labor and Social Protection and several politicians. Unfortunately, there is no positive response on the strategic approach to suicide prevention as for today.
In Republic of Moldova, there are several laws that address indirectly the issue of suicide and its prevention. Below are some of them:
- Law no. 121 of 18.05.2012 on mental health (which has only 1 mention of “suicide attempt” and National 5-years Programs, which describe the Mental Health National actors initiatives, which have tangency with the area of suicide intervention and suicide prevention. In March 2023 there was a discussion on a new National Mental Health and Wellbeing Law and Plan, which was intended to include more actions on suicide prevention, while influenced by SDGs, but from the existent drafts the lack of strategic suicide prevention thinking and approach is still evident.
- Penal Code is mentioning punishments for determination to suicide and to suicide attempt.
- Regulations (OMJ343/2022) on medical assistance in the prisons
- Regulations (RCA63/2021) on the presentation of suicide places and methods in the media
Altruism NGO products in suicide prevention.
- The volunteer-based www.pentruviata.md Lifeline Chat (over 8000 conversations), member of Befrienders International
- Online Lifeline’s Volunteers Training School on https://cursuri.mirt.md/ website, created on own experience and methodologies, donated by Samaritans Boston, USA and Lifeline from Denmark.
- International Suicide Prevention Day, September, 10, every year since 2012, downtown our capital, Chisinau.
- Myrtle Center for Counseling and Research in Suicide Prevention (www.mirt.md) with resources and actions for public, professionals and media:
- A movie, Cloud 9, based on the cases from the www.pentruviata.md lifeline chat. It has English subtitles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eTBdW9YVCU
- Promos, videos for the school lessons, International Suicide Prevention Day videos, etc. on https://www.youtube.com/@pentruviatamd/videos
- A guide for media was created with tips on public reflection of the suicide topic https://mirt.md/ghid-pentru-presa/
- Research “Basic milestones for creating the framework for development of suicidal thinking and action in the Republic of Moldova”https://mirt.md/repere (produced by Altruism NGO leader, Liuba Ceban after research at Suicidology Research Center in 2019 in Paris, France).
- Trainings, conferences for professionals and distribution of information materials
- Community outreaches, awareness events forschools, NGOs, churches, workplaces, etc.)
Limited initiatives, myths around suicide and almost non-existent recognition of the need for strategic approach have hindered the country’s ability to comprehensively address the suicide prevention needs of its population. However, the existent initiatives of Altruism NGO, mental health reforms, public efforts of the classic and new media, as well as the SDGs are driving the authorities to pay attention to suicide prevention in R. Moldova. Hopefully, the strategic attention.