Correlates of suicide among middle and high school students in Ghana
Azasu, E.K. & Joe, S.
Purpose We know little about the epidemiology of suicide among middle school students in Ghana, including the years preceding high school. This study explores the onset, characteristics, and recent patterns of suicide among Ghanaian middle and high school students. Methods This study used the World Health Organization Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS, 2012), which has self-reported measures on suicide ideation, plan, and attempt of middle and high school students in Ghana. Correlation and logistic regression analyses were performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS version 25). Results The study found prevalence of suicidal behaviors among the population as follows: ideation (19%), plan (22%), and attempt (25%). Suicide ideation significantly increased the risk for suicide plan (odds ratio [OR] = 9.14; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.57–11.02) and attempt (OR = 11.89; 95% CI = 9.82–14.38), whereas suicide plan significantly increased the odds of suicide attempt (OR = 12.64; 95% CI = 10.50–15.19). There was a higher prevalence of suicide ideation, plan, and attempts among middle school students than high school students although only suicide attempt differences were significant (28.4% > 22.3%; χ2 = 17.1, p < .001). Discussion The onset of suicide among Ghanaian students occurs at younger ages than previously thought, and there were increasing trends in suicide behaviors as age increases. This finding highlights a potential suicide crisis among preteens, which warrants attention. Additional studies are needed to observe these increasing trends, identify risk, protective, and precipitating factors to help prevent suicide among these children.