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Ghanaian nursing, midwifery students at high risk of committing suicide – Survey

A high-risk of suicidal behaviour has been found among nursing and midwifery college students in Ghana.

A 2019 study dubbed: “Prevalence of suicidal behaviour among nursing and midwifery college students in Ghana” found out that 8.5% (female=8.7%; male=7.1%) of the 305 nursing and midwifery students surveyed met the cut-off criterion for categorisation as at high risk of suicidal behaviour.

The overall lifetime prevalence estimates of suicide ideation stands at 15.4%; female = 16.2%; male = 7.1%), plans (6.6%; female = 6.9%; male = 3.6%), threats (13.4%; female = 14.1%; male = 7.1%) and attempts (2.3%; female = 2.2%; male = 3.6%) and the 12‐month prevalence estimate of suicide ideation (21.3%; female = 21.7%; male = 17.9%) reported in the study are generally comparable to those found in high‐income countries, with more females than males reporting suicidal behaviour.

The 12‐month prevalence estimate of suicide ideation found in the study (21.3%) is comparable and quite consistent with the recent prevalence estimates among senior high school students in Ghana—18.2%.

“More pointedly, the findings on the prevalence estimates of suicidal behaviour in this study are consistent with the global situation. Put together, the prevalence estimates of suicidal behaviour and risk found in this study resonate with recent calls and campaigns from Ghana  and elsewhere for the improvement of on‐site counselling services to facilitate mental health help‐seeking by students on college campuses,” the study stated.

It is evident in the study that more females than males reported both lifetime and 12‐month suicidal ideations, even though the suicidal behaviour risk between females and males is comparable.

The study has important implications for healthcare professionals and administration of nursing and midwifery training colleges (in Ghana) and research.

An awareness of the suicidal behaviour risk and prevalence of suicidal behaviours among students, according to the study should underscore the need for periodic screening of college students and the strengthening of on‐site student mental health and counselling services.

“Suicidal ideation should be a major concern for (mental) healthcare providers serving students and trainers of these students in colleges. In terms of research, the findings of this study could serve a useful beginning point for more detailed and broader research on suicidal behaviours among nursing and college students in Ghana,” it stated.

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