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Effects of a suicide prevention programme for hospitalised patients with mental illness in South Korea


  • Won Hee Jun PhD, RN,

    Assistant Professor
    1. Department of Nursing and Research Institute for Basic Science, Hoseo University, Asan-si, Chungnam, South Korea
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  • Eun Ju Lee PhD, RN,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Nursing, Andong Science College, Andong-si, Gyeongbuk, South Korea
    • Correspondence: Eun Ju Lee, Professor, College of Nursing, Andong Science University, Gyo-ri, Seohu-myeon, Andong-si, Gyeongbuk, 760-709, South Korea. Telephone: +82 054 851 3551.


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  • Jeong Soon Park RN

    Unit Manager
    1. Catholic University Uijeongbu, St. Mary Hospital, Uijeongbu, Kyunggido, South Korea
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Aims and objectives

To investigate the effects of a suicide prevention programme on the levels of depression, self-esteem, suicidal ideation and spirituality in patients with mental illness.


Instances of suicide have significant correlations with depression, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation and a low level of spirituality in the victims. Therefore, addressing depression, low self-esteem and suicidal ideation as suicide risk factors and increasing levels of spirituality can constitute an effective programme to prevent suicide among patients with mental illness.


The study was a quasi-experimental study with a nonequivalent control group, nonsynchronised design.


The study sample consisted of 45 patients with mental illness who had been admitted to the psychiatric unit in a university hospital in South Korea. The patients were assigned to control and experimental groups of 23 and 22 members, respectively.


The suicide prevention programme was conducted with the experimental group over four weeks and included eight sessions (two per week). The control group received only routine treatments in the hospital.


The experimental group that participated in the programme had significantly decreased mean scores for depression and suicidal ideation compared with the control group. However, there were no significant differences in the mean scores for self-esteem and spirituality between the groups.


The suicide prevention programme might be usefully applied as a nursing intervention for patients hospitalised in psychiatric wards or clinics where the goals are to decrease depression and suicidal ideation.

Relevance to clinical practice

Typical treatments for hospitalised patients with mental illness are not enough to prevent suicide. Intervention for suicide prevention needs to apply an integrated approach. The suicide prevention programme using an integrated approach is more effective in reducing depression and suicidal ideation in patients with mental illness than applying routine treatments in the hospital.