Self-reported suicidal and help seeking behaviours in the general population in Latvia

Elmars Rancans, Janis Lapiņš, Ellinor Salander Renberg, Lars Jacobsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of suicidal behaviours in the general population in Latvia, to identify risk groups for suicidal behaviour, to examine a possible continuous sequence of suicidal behaviours with underlying gradient of severity, to assess patterns of help seeking behaviours and preferences of different types of services for suicidal persons. Method. A postal survey of a stratified proportional sample of the general population aged 18 and older was carried out. Results. The last year and lifetime prevalence of any type of suicidal behaviours was 52.6 and 60.2%. The incidence of self-reported suicide attempts was 1.8 and 5.1%, respectively. Females reported significantly less serious types (includes ideation, plans and/or attempts) of suicidal behaviours (OR 0.04, p=0.001) during last year than males. Younger age, lower level of education, urban residency and Latvian ethnicity were identified as risk factors for serious types of suicidal behaviours in both genders. Non-cohabitation status (OR 5.3, p = 0.01) and lower level of education for males, but higher levels of education for females were identified as significant risk factors for mild types (solely life-weariness and/or death wishes) of suicidal behaviours. The results indicated no simple cumulative relationship between the suicidal behaviours. Age, gender, previous help seeking experience and severity of self-reported suicidal behaviours influenced help seeking behaviours. The overall acceptance of professional services was high, but people who reported suicidal behaviours ranked them lower. Conclusions. A postal survey can provide a reasonable coverage of suicidal behaviours and description of risk groups in the general population. Higher prevalence of suicidal behaviours among males might indicate that nowadays males are under certain stress in Latvia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Age
  • Gender
  • Latvia
  • Population
  • Suicide behaviours
  • Survey

Field of Science*

  • 5.1 Psychology
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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