Suicidal ideation among students enrolled in healthcare training programs: a cross-sectional study

Ideação suicida entre estudantes da área da saúde: um estudo transversal

Objective: We aimed to assess the presence of suicidal ideation, depressive symptoms and symptoms of hopelessness in three healthcare training programs. Method: The study's population comprised all students enrolled at the Medical School of the Fundação do ABC, Brazil, from 2006 to 2007 compared to students enrolled in nursing and pharmacy programs. We applied the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Beck Hopeless Scale to assess psychiatric symptomatology. The general response rates of the medical, nursing, and pharmacy students were 56%, 56% and 61%, respectively. Results: There was no difference regarding the presence of suicidal ideation among medical, nursing and pharmacy students. There was also no difference regarding the presence of either depression or hopelessness in medical students in comparison to nursing and pharmacy students. In comparison to nursing and pharmacy students, significantly higher severity rates in terms of hopelessness were observed only among medical students. Conclusion: Although we did not observe significant differences regarding suicidal ideation and depression among the three healthcare programs, our findings suggest that the presence of suicidal ideation is indeed a source of concern. Early identification of these symptoms is crucial in order to offer appropriate support and treatment and prevent deaths by suicide.

Depression; Symptoms, psychic; Students, medical; Cross-sectional studies; Students; health occupations

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