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Suicidality and depressive symptoms among nursing students in northern greece

Papazisis Georgios

Suicide has become a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in adolescents and young adults worldwide and has been identified as one of the key mental health problems affecting college students. More specifically, the nursing students are under tremendous stress during the various stages of their education. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among nursing students in Greece. Method and material: A total of 142 nursing students of the Department of Nursing of the Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki agreed to participate in the study. The Beck Depression Inventory II was administered. The responses to items of the present study covered the ‘past two weeks, including today’. Question 9 of the scale was evaluated to examine suicidal tendency. Results: 142 nursing students (mean age 21.5) participated in the study. 43.9% of them experienced depressive symptoms. The mean scores on the BDI were higher in year 1 and 3, while the lowest score was observed in year 2. No significant differences among the four study years or on the basis of sex were observed. 88% of our total sample reported never having thoughts of suicide. The evaluation of suicidal ideation per year of studies indicated that the percentage of students who thought of suicide but wouldn’t commit it were mainly in the first or in the last (graduate) years. Significant differences on the basis of gender were observed concerning suicidal thoughts, without actually carrying it out (males>females). Conclusions: The above results urge mental health professionals to better understand the difficulties of nursing students. At the same time, counselling can help nursing students cope with academic stress, fears about their future, personal problems etc and adjust better to the demands of the nursing program and practice.