Attitude towards suicide among medical students in a medical college of rural South India
Keywords:Attitude, Suicide, Medical students
Background: Suicide is a psychiatric emergency. It contributes for substantial portion of preventive deaths. Medical professionals bear responsibility of providing optimal primary care to a suicidal person and reducing stigma towards suicide. Their attitudes towards suicide or a suicidal person determines the quality of care given to them. This study attempts to quantitatively assess attitudes of undergraduate medical students towards suicide and a suicidal person. Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in a medical college hospital of Kerala. Total 287 first& second year medical students who were not exposed to psychiatry teaching were recruited for the study by total enumeration method. Eskin’s attitude towards suicide scale (E-ATSS) and Eskin’s Social Reactions to Suicidal Persons Scale (E-SRSPS) were administered. Responses were collected in 5 point likert scale ranging from ‘completely disagree' to ‘completely agree'. Results: On E- ATSS, Communicating psychological problems had a high mean score with minimal standard deviation( 4.25+/- 0.35) & acceptability of suicide scored the least(1.46+/- 0.62) while the social acceptance of a suicidal person & helping had high scores (4.34+/-0.82, 4.28+/- 0.23) on E-ATSPS. Conclusion: Students participated in this study have more of rejecting attitudes towards suicide. But less than half of them take it as a sign of mental illness. When it comes to attitude towards a suicidal person, our medical students have a very high acceptance score and also are ready to help them. Studies involving students who complete undergraduate psychiatry training will help to know about the change that the training brings into the attitudes.
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