Prevalence and psychiatric correlates of suicidal ideation in UK university students

Umair Akram, Antonia Ypsilanti, Maria Gardani, Kamila Irvine, Sarah Allen, Asha Akram, Jennifer Drabble, Eleanor Bickle, Lauren Kaye, Damian Lipinski, Eva Matuszyk, Helia Sarlak, Lambros Lazuras

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Background: Evidence highlights increased susceptibility to thoughts and behaviors related to suicide (i.e. suicidal ideation) in the student population, often in co-occurrence with mental health difficulties. Typically, studies focus on specific symptoms, with few providing comprehensive examination of risk factors. In this study we examined the prevalence of suicidal ideation among UK university students and assessed the association with multiple psychiatric risk factors.
Methods: A total of N = 1273 students completed online measures of suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, insomnia, mania, psychosis, and perceived stress.
Results: 37.3% students were classified as high-risk for suicidal behaviour. Moreover, 42.2% of students contemplated suicide at least once within the past twelve months, and 25.1% reported telling someone about these thoughts at least once. Logistic regression analysis showed that suicidal ideation was significantly associated with symptoms of depression, mania, psychosis, and stress.
Limitations: The cross-sectional nature of ours study does not allow us to infer causality in the observed associations.
Conclusions: Our results indicate the prevalence of suicidal ideation in a large sample of university students in the UK, and highlight associated mental health risk factors associated with it. Our findings have implications for mental health practitioners working with University students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020


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