Improved Provision of Mental Health Services Benefit Lithuanian Youth

Strengthened governance and delivery of mental health services will improve the well-being of young people in Lithuania, according to a new World Bank report.

To address this problem, Lithuania is looking to foster governance of mental health services provided by national and local authorities, as well as schools or medical facilities, especially in the context of low levels of awareness and capacity at the local and municipal levels.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of young people globally,” said Gallina A. Vincelette, World Bank Director for the European Union Countries. “Improving mental health services is essential for helping youth to achieve more positive outcomes later in life. We are encouraged by the Lithuanian Government’s commitment to strengthening mental health services for the well-being of its youth. The lessons learned in Lithuania are of great relevance for other countries where the World Bank operates.”

The report, titled “Governance of the Service Delivery Chain for Youth Mental Health in Lithuania,” notes that in 2018, 24 percent of Lithuanian students in grades one to nine thought about suicide, 40 percent experienced low levels of psychological well-being, and 24 percent experienced bullying. Now, after the COVID-19 pandemic, the share of students experiencing severe psycho-emotional difficulties is at 20 percent compared to 14 percent before.

Mental health problems have several deleterious consequences for the youth, including poor performance in school and negative outcomes later in life such as substance abuse, poor health, unemployment, and incarceration. Based on a comprehensive perception survey conducted by the World Bank, only 12 percent of students in Lithuania received any help for their mental health challenges from their school. In addition, public sector personnel often avoid talking about mental health challenges, while school staff and administrators have limited awareness of the extent of youth mental health problems.

The report provides suggestions for improving mental health service delivery in Lithuania. Among them are cultivating training for civil servants and education workers to make them better prepared to help those in need; strengthening teamwork in addressing mental health by schools; fostering strategic and managerial competencies of school and administration leadership; improving data and measurement for mental health services.

The report, which was presented today in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, was carried out with funding from the European Commission.

About the World Bank:

The World Bank is an international financial institution with the mission to fight poverty and support inclusive growth. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Operating in over one hundred countries, the World Bank Group institutions provide financing, policy advice and other support services to help countries solve their most burning development policy issues.