Indicators of suicide ideation among medical students: a systematic review

Victor Meireles Campos, Ieda Aleluia


BACKGROUND: Suicidal ideation is one of the main symptoms indicative of suicide attempts and suicide. According to the WHO, about 800,000 cases of suicide were reported around the world in 2014, which translates to an index of 1 suicide every 40 seconds. Medical students constitute a population at risk for the development of suicidal ideation. Several life factors may influence the risk of suicidal ideation, those being personality traits, social factors and mental health. OBJECTIVE: Identify the indicators of suicidal ideation among medical students during their academic training. METHODS: This is a systematic review carried out in the electronic databases Pubmed and BVS. Articles that addressed the subject of suicidal ideation among medical students in Portuguese, English and Spanish from 2008 to 2018 were included. RESULTS: We found 263 articles, of which 12 articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. After the application of the STROBE statement, 6 articles were selected for the creation of this systematic review. The prevalence of suicidal ideation varied from 3.7% to 35.6% around the world and several factors were linked to the increase of suicidal ideation risk. CONCLUSION: A suicidal ideation is a frequent and multifactorial phenomenon that involves several realms of a medical student's life. The risk factors identified in this review were linked to the increased risk of suicidal ideation development.


Suicidal ideation. Suicide. Medical students. Mental health. Risk factors.



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International Journal of Health Education | ISSN 2594-7907

Updated 10/08/2020

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