Prevalence of suicidal ideation in Sri Lanka
Samaraweera, S., Sumathipala, A., Siribaddana, S., Sivayogan, S., & Bhugra, D.
Background: Suicidal ideation can often lead to suicide attempts and completed suicide. Studies have shown that Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world but so far no studies have looked at prevalence of suicidal ideation in a general population in Sri Lanka.
Aims: We wanted to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation by randomly selecting six Divisional Secretariats (Dss) out of 17 in one district. This district is known to have higher than national average rates of suicide.
Methods: 808 participants were interviewed using Sinhala versions of GHQ-30 and Beck’s Scale for Suicidal Ideation. Of these, 387 (48%) were males, and 421 (52%) were female.
Results: On Beck’s Scale for Suicidal Ideation, 29 individuals (4%) had active suicidal ideation and 23 (3%) had passive suicidal ideation. The active suicidal ideators were young, physically ill and had higher levels of helplessness and hopelessness.
Conclusions: The prevalence of suicidal ideation in Sri Lanka is lower than reported from the West and yet suicide rates are higher. Further work must explore cultural and religious factors.