Prevalence and predictors of suicidal ideations and attempts among homeless children and adolescents in Ghana
Objective: This study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with suicidal ideations and attempts among a sample of homeless street children and adolescents found in Accra, Ghana.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of 227 (122 male and 105 female) homeless youth was conducted in Ghana. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data due to a low level of literacy among the study population. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were fitted to analyse the data.
Results: The results indicated that 26.4% and 26.0% of the participants had attempted suicide and reported suicidal ideations respectively. The multivariate logistic regression showed that smoking, past and present use of alcohol, use of marijuana, and engagement in prostitution, were associated with suicidal ideations and suicide attempts. Suicidal ideations were associated with having been physically beaten, robbed, and assaulted with a weapon; while a suicide attempt was predicted by having been robbed and physically beaten.
Conclusion: This study increased our understanding of the determinants of suicidal ideations and attempts among homeless youth. These findings suggest urgency to up-skill mental health workers to assess for risk factors and offer pathways to care for this vulnerable group.