OBJECTIVE: To determine the self reported prevalence of suicidal ideation in South Australia and to examine the relationship of suicidal ideation with a range of risk, social and demographic factors and related health issues using data collected in a risk factor surveillance system. METHOD: Data were collected using a monthly risk factor surveillance system where each month a representative random sample of South Australian is selected from the Electronic White Pages with interviews conducted using computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). RESULTS: In total, 4.7% of South Australian, aged 16 years and over, were determined to have suicidal ideation. There was no change in the trend over the years when surveys between 1997 and 2005 were compared. A wide range of variables were significant with suicidal ideation at the univariate level. In the final multivariate model, marital status, money situation, psychosocial stress (K10), physical activity, fruit consumption, health service use and mental health service use proved to be best joint predictors of suicidal ideation. CONCLUSIONS: Suicidal ideation in the community has not increased (or decreased) over time and questions assessing suicidal ideation can be used effectively in a surveillance system.
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