• Vol. 43 No. 8, 412–421
  • 15 August 2014

Suicidal Ideation, Suicidal Plan and Suicidal Attempts Among Those with Major Depressive Disorder

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: The aims of the study were to identify the prevalence and sociodemographic and clinical correlates of suicidal behaviours using data from a cross-sectional survey among those with major depressive disorder (MDD) in Singapore.

Materials and Methods: The Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) was a cross-sectional epidemiological study that surveyed Singapore residents (Singapore citizens and permanent residents) aged 18 years and above. The assessment of mental disorders was established using version 3.0 of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI 3.0). For the purposes of this study, suicidal behaviour was assessed by questions which were asked to respondents who answered positively to the screening questions in the CIDI 3.0 “Depression” module.

Results: The prevalence of suicidal ideation, plan and attempt among those with lifetime MDD was 43.6%, 13.7% and 12.3%, respectively. We found that suicidal ideation, plan and attempt were significantly associated with ethnicity, education and income. The rate of those who had sought some professional help was higher among those with suicidal plan (71.7%) and attempt (72.3%) as compared to those with suicidal ideation (48.7%) and those with MDD but no suicidal behaviour (29%).

Conclusion: The prevalence of suicidal ideation, plan and attempt among those with lifetime MDD was 43.6%, 13.7% and 12.3%, respectively. We found that suicidal ideation, plan and attempt were significantly associated with ethnicity, education and income. The rate of those who had sought some professional help was higher among those with suicidal plan (71.7%) and attempt (72.3%) as compared to those with suicidal ideation (48.7%) and those with MDD but no suicidal behaviour (29%).


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year, almost a million people die from suicide — a mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or 1 death every 40 seconds. WHO also posits that in some countries, suicide is one of the three leading causes of death among those aged 15 to 44 years, and the second leading cause of death among 10 to 24 year olds. Mental disorders are strongly associated with completed suicides, with studies mainly from Western populations showing that approximately 9 out of every 10 individuals appear to have had a psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.

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