Affiliation: Cooper University Hospital and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, NJ.
Objectives: Youth suicide is a major social and health problem world-wide. Over the last decade Turkey has become a regional power with growing regional aspirations with a young population and rapidly growing economy. The limited literature on Turkish youth suggests that suicidality is a growing challenge for Turkish youth. This study aims to examine the prevalence and risk factors of suicidal ideation amongst Turkish youth in Istanbul, its main metropolitan center. Methods: This study analyzed responses from 31,272 students, consisting of 20 percent of the total high school (HS) student population of Istanbul. The main survey instrument was a combination of the ESPAD 2007 survey and the Youth in Europe 2012 survey, examining risk factors commonly reported in the literature. Results: Our findings indicate a prevalence of one week suicidal ideation of 25.77 %, with depression, anxiety, selfesteem, anomie, irritability, "antisocial" behavior, peer influence, and illicit substances identified as associate risk factors. Other contextual factors were significant in different student sub-groups. Conclusions: To our knowledge this is the first study with results generalizable to all HS students of Istanbul and confirms findings of similar studies with other populations of Turkish youth as well as other nations.