Suicide is becoming a public health problem and this act starts with suicidal ideation that is increasing amongst the younger age group, particularly students. However, little is known about this problem amongst medical students in India
A cross sectional study was carried out on 265 undergraduate students of a medical college in Delhi using pre-tested and self-administered questionnaire consist of socio-demographic profile, risk factors for suicide, and a validated scale to assess suicidal ideation and thought. Analysis was done using Microsoft Excel and WHO EPI-INFO 2005.
The prevalence of suicidal ideation amongst medical students was 53.6%. Although everybody was aware of the meaning of suicide and the damage that it could cause to the individual and family, still 4.9% students seriously contemplated suicide and 2.6% have attempted suicide at least once in their life. Suicidal ideation was highest in first professional year medical students (64.4%) and lowest among the third professional year students (40.4%). Suicidal ideation was significantly associated with “impulsive or reckless behaviour in difficult situations” with 70.9% of the students showing reckless behaviour also having suicidal ideation compared to 30.7% not having such behaviour. Also, a significant association between the feeling of “it’s all too much to manage” and suicidal ideation was observed, with 78% of the students having this feeling also found to be having suicidal ideation as compared to 4.5% of those without this feeling. A significant association was found between gender suicidal ideation. Also a significant association was found between the feeling of being “better off dead” and “non-working mothers”. However, no association of suicidal ideation or attempted suicides was found with age, father’s education, and father’s occupation.
High prevalence of suicidal ideation amongst medical students suggests that there is an urgent need for a mental health program for medical students that provides counseling services and creates more opportunities for recreational activities.
Authors: Abhinav Goyal, Jugal Kishore, Tanu Anand, Akanksha Rathi
Journal of Mental health and human behavior 2012; 17 (1): 60-69; ipsnz.org/journal%20march_2012/8_org_article3.pdf