Factors aggravating depression and suicidal ideation among male students : a case study of Makerere University
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Depression and suicidal ideation are most prevalent among University students, but their recognition, detection and management has proved to be challenging over time, especially among the male population. In the face of overwhelming despair and intolerable mental pain, death offers itself as an alternative to a life full of pain and suffering, and suicide may seem ‘like shining a torch into the dark’, and ‘No man should think like that’ and suicidal feelings may be temporary if only they are recognized and time is given the chance to be the natural healer. The challenge is how to detect the silent sufferer and potential suicide in our midst (Ovuga 2005). This paper seeks to analyze and establish the factors contributing to high rate of depression and suicidal ideation among male students, as well as investigate differences in how male students experience and manage depression in comparison to female students at Makerere University. It explains the extent to which poor emotional expression, masking of depression symptoms, poor diagnosis of depression, access to lethal means and denial of illness contributed to aggravation of depression and suicidal ideation, as well as the symptoms through which depression and suicidal ideation manifests among University students by gender in order to offer a better understanding of depression and suicidal tendencies among male students of Makerere University. A sample of 50 male students of Makerere University and a control sample of 20 female students from Africa hall, Makerere University participated in the study with consenting and filling in the provided questionnaires. Data analysis consisted of quantitative analysis with SPSS software version 11, with establishment of correlations between the identified factors and prevalence of depression and suicidal ideation among the university students. Results revealed a high correlation between poor emotional expression, masking of depression symptoms, poor diagnosis of depression, access to lethal means and denial of illness with prevalence of depression and suicidal ideation among University students of Makerere University.