African Health Sciences

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Prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempt: associations with psychiatric disorders and HIV/AIDS in post-conflict Northern Uganda

James Mugisha, Herbert Muyinda, Ashraf Kagee, Peter Wandiembe, Stephen M. Kiwuwa, Davy Vancampfort, Eugene Kinyanda


Background: Research on the prevalence of suicidal ideation, attempt, and cormorbid psychiatric disorders in post-conflict areas is still limited.

Aim: We explored the prevalence of suicidal ideation, attempt, associated psychiatric disorders and HIV/AIDS in post-conflict Northern Uganda, an area that experienced civil strife for over two decades.

Methods: A total of 2400 respondents (aged 18 and above) and randomly selected in three districts (Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya), were interviewed. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess for associations between suicidality (suicidal ideation and attempt) and psychiatric cormorbidities.

Results: The prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempt were 12.1 % and 6.2 % respectively. Suicidality was significantly (P<0.001) higher among respondents with major depressive disorder (adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) = 9.5; 95%CI= 7.4, 12.1) and post-traumatic stress disorder (adjusted OR =2.4; 95%CI= 1.6, 3.6). Men had lower odds of ideating or attempting suicide compared to women (adjusted OR = 0.55; 95%CI: 0.38, 0.82).

Conclusion: The prevalence rate of suicide ideation and attempt indicate a major public health problem in post-conflict Northern Uganda. Effective public mental health programs that that target both suicidality and psychiatric co-morbodities will be vital. Special attention should be given to women in post conflict Northern Uganda.

Keywords: Suicide attempt, ideation, cormorbidity, post-conflict Northern Uganda
AJOL African Journals Online