Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya

Co-organiser

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya

PSYCHO-SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF SUICIDAL IDEATION: HOW EPIDEMIOLOGY INFORMS PREVENTION POLICY

Author

T Maniam , C Karuthan

Institution

National University of Malaysia (UKM) & University of Malaya

Abstract

Objectives: Suicide prevention programs must be evidence-based. The aims of this paper are to delineate the psychological and social factors that contribute to suicidal ideation in the Malaysian population and to propose directions for preventive policy initiatives.

Methods: A stratified random sample of 20,552 persons aged =16 years (Males 45.9%), was studied in a national survey of psychiatric morbidity in 2006, using locally validated General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) including questions on suicidal ideation.

Results: The overall prevalence of suicidal ideation was 6.3% (CI 6.1-6.8; n=1288). Logistic regression analysis was performed controlling for age, ethnicity, gender, urban/rural residence, age group, marital status, household income, type of household, presence of chronic pain, social dysfunction, somatic, anxiety or depressive symptoms, obesity and chronic medical illnesses. Prevalence of suicidal ideation was significantly higher among Indians (10.9%, CI 9.5-12.5), especially those of the Hindu faith (12.1% CI 10.5- 14.0), Chinese (9.9%, CI 8.9-10.8) and those having depressive symptoms (B coefficient 0.859, CI 0.823-0.896). Anxiety, social dysfunction, medical co-morbidities and obesity were not significant contributors.

Conclusion: Cultural factors influence how people respond to depression. In a developing country with competing priorities, prudent allocation of resources requires focusing suicide prevention efforts on treating depression in vulnerable groups.