Suicide prevention in Estonia

Airi Värnik

Edited by Danuta Wasserman

in Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198570059
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199640461 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Suicide prevention in Estonia

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Mortality data on suicide were kept in secret behind the doors of statistical offices in the former Soviet Union. All the draft articles for scientific journals were censored in special ministerial departments, and information considered as state secrets or data liable to ruin the illusory image of consummate welfare, was deleted or rejected.

In 1988, during the Gorbachev reform era, permission was given to form a Suicide Research Group within the framework of the re-established Estonian Medical Association (EMA), and to have access to statistical data (Wasserman and Värnik 1998). According to calculations, the suicide rate was approximately 33–35 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The Baltic republics regained their independence in 1991, and were granted creative freedom. The assistance from the National Swedish Prevention of Suicide and Mental Ill-Health (NASP) resulted in the growth of the EMA Suicide Research Group into the Estonian-Swedish Institute of Suicidology (ERSI), in Tallinn, in 1993 (Estonian–Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute 2008), with economic support from Stockholm Care, an agency of Stockholm County Council and the Swedish Eastern European Committee.

Chapter.  1298 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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