Suicidal Ideation amongst Medical Students of Pakistan: A Cross-Sectional Study

Author(s): Faria Latif Sami, Naveen Siddique Sheikh, Ali Ishtiaq, Hania Latif Sami, Emaan Salam, Hasban Ahmed, Bushra Arif1, Nasir Anis, Muhammad Usama Rafiq

Introduction: Thinking, planning or even unsuccessful attempts of suicide come under the definition of suicidal ideation. The risk factor known to be the most important cause for suicidal thoughts is anxiety or feeling stressed, to which medical students are predisposed to due to a wide range of reasons from academics to personal pressures.

Objectives: To establish the risk factors and frequency of suicidal ideation amongst medical students.

 Methodology: A cross-sectional study was done to ascertain the frequency of suicidal ideation and the risk factors causing it in medical students. A questionnaire was formulated and filled by the participants with a 100% response rate. Final data were analyzed with the help of SPSS version 17.0 and the descriptive statistics e.g. percentage and frequencies were calculated.

Results: Out of the 250 participants, 84% reported they have depression. 34% of the total students that participated claimed to have suicidal ideation in the previous year. 5.6% reported experiencing suicidal ideation once a week. 7.2% of participants reported that they might be capable of attempting suicide while 4.4% of participants reported that they are definitely capable of committing suicide. Of the total 2.4% reported having attempted suicide while 0.4% reported having attempted suicide more than once in their life.

Conclusion: The crux of this research was that the vulnerability of these medical students to feel depressed and experience suicidal ideation is high. The most significant contributor to this trend, as the research explores, is the stress level due to the academic burden that the medical students experience.

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