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East Afr Med J. 2001 Sep;78(9):493-6.

Suicide attempts in a Nigerian military setting.

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  • 1Military Hospital, Yaba, P.O. Box 8869, Shomolu, Lagos State, Nigeria.



To describe the characteristics of patients who attempted suicide in a military setting and to examine the differences between the suicide attempters and a group of non-suicide, affective disorder patients.


Fifty one consecutive cases of suicide attempts were studied using a questionnaire which inquired about demographic characteristics and suicide related issues such as method of attempt used and giving a notice. The suicide attempt group was then compared with a control group who had no history of attempted suicide.


Department of Psychiatry, Military Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, which is a 500-bed military general hospital.


Fifty one attempted suicide patients. Intervention reports on intervention methods applied were not within the scope of this report.


These were also not within the scope of the present study.


Suicide attempt patients constituted 0.37% of all admissions during a five-year period, and 60.8% of them were under the age of 30 years. The numbers of male and female patients were approximately the same. Depression and acute stress reaction were the commonest diagnoses. While military dependents most commonly ingested substances in their suicide attempts, military personnel most often used more violent methods including hanging and self-stabbing, but none used firearms. Compared with non suicide patients, suicide attempt ones were more likely to be unmarried and to have a family history of mental disorder but less likely to have lost a parent through death before the age of 18 years.


The need for a more controlled access to substances capable of being used for self-destruction was highlighted. The need for emergency room doctors to become more skilfull in the identification and assessment of suicide attempt patients was also emphasized.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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