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Suicide ideation, psychological adjustment and mental health service support: A screening study in an Irish secondary school sample

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 June 2014

Ciara Brennan
Sandford Parish National School, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland
Sinéad McGilloway*
Mental Health and Social Research Unit, Department of Psychology, NUI Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
*Correspondence E-mail


Objective: The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate the extent of suicide ideation, psychological maladjustment and views of mental health service support in a sample of secondary school pupils.

Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on a purposive sample of participants (n=93) recruited from a secondary school located in the south east of Ireland. Participants completed a Background Information Questionnaire (BIQ); the Suicide Ideation Questionnaire (SIQ); and the Reynolds Adolescence Adjustment Screening Inventory (RAASI).

Results: Approximately ten percent of participants displayed high levels of suicide ideation whilst one third reported having previously had suicidal thoughts; one quarter reported psychological adjustment difficulties, although these varied by age and sex. Participants' drug use and their levels of parental closeness were both individual factors that significantly predicted both suicide ideation and psychological adjustment. Females reported higher levels of parental closeness than males. Forty percent of respondents rated mental health support services as insufficient to meet their needs.

Conclusion: The findings raise serious concerns about the extent of suicidal thoughts amongst young people in Ireland; they also highlight a potentially important role for parents in this regard. Further research should ascertain national prevalence rates whilst appropriate school-based mental health education/promotion and support services should also be implemented.

Original Paper
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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