700 People Lay On The Ground In The City Center To Address A Devastating Fact

This is so important.

One thousand.

That's the approximate number of Lithuanian people who choose to end their lives every year.

Huddled between Poland, Latvia and Belarus, Lithuania is a country with long and rich history. However, one chapter of its history is not particularly glorious. 

It's been long known for the highest suicide rates in Europe, currently leveling at 31.7 deaths per 100,000 people annually. To a country with only 2.9 million inhabitants, that accounts for about 1,000 suicides a year. A grim statistic that becomes even more devastating keeping in mind there hasn't been a significant breakthrough for the past 20 years.

But some people are willing to change that.

On Sept. 22, 2015, a peculiar flash mob took place in the capital of Lithuania. More than 700 people gathered in the city center, forming multiple human chains.

Holding hands, they started walking down the square until eventually they stopped and laid down on the cold, granite pavement.

For a minute, they laid silently while intrigued onlookers were rushing to witness the unusual sight.

The point of it? According to organizers, they wanted to bluntly show the shocking amount of people who choose to end their lives every year.

The flash mob is named Šmėkla (Ghost) and was initiated by a famous Lithuanian actor Arūnas Sakalauskas, who has personally lost eight close friends to suicide.

Sakalauskas says he wants to raise awareness and encourage people to be more empathic towards each other, to care for and help each other more than we are used to. He hopes this initiative will help raise funds for helpline Jaunimo linija and its fellow association dedicated to helping family members of suicide victims.

Flash mob's participant and Jaunimo linija volunteer Katrė Mikšytė says she hopes more similar initiatives will take place in the future:

"It was very important for me to be a part of this flash mob, to be surrounded by people who are not willing to close their eyes at the high suicide rates in Lithuania. I hope in the future people will be willing to discuss this issue more often and more openly," she told A Plus.

Check out this amazing video that captured the entire flash mob from a bird's view:

(H/T: 15min.lt)