Hong Kong Med J 2013;19:377–85 | Number 5, October 2013
DOI: 10.12809/hkmj133950
Attitudes towards suicide following an undergraduate suicide prevention module: experience of medical students in Hong Kong
Saman Yousuf, Philip SL Beh, Paul WC Wong
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To explore qualitative and quantitative changes in attitudes and experiences of medical students following a special study suicide prevention module.
DESIGN. Pilot study.
SETTING. The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
PARTICIPANTS. A 2-week intensive special studies module was delivered to third- and fourth-year medical students in June 2011. The module was elective and involved several modes of teaching. All students filled the Chinese Attitude toward Suicide Questionnaire before and after the course. They also provided written feedback about the module experience. Three students participated in in-depth interviews.
RESULTS. In all, 22 students aged 20 to 23 years enrolled in the special studies module; 15 (68%) of whom were male and only one was married. Positive trends were noted in attitudes towards suicide following the participation in the special studies module, namely, reduced negative appraisal of suicide, reduced stigmatisation of the phenomena, and increased sensitivity to suicide-related facts. Feedback of the students suggested inclusion of this module into the main medical curriculum, increased confidence in dealing with issues related to suicide, and appreciation of skills focusing on interviewing in patients. Overall the module was well received by medical students.
CONCLUSIONS. A suicide prevention training module seems to have been valued by students and lead to positive attitudes towards understanding suicide. Adopting this initiative as a suicide prevention strategy warrants further exploration.
Key words: Attitude; Hong Kong; Students, medical; Suicide
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