Prevention of suicidal behaviour in adolescents, a necessity in Primary Health Care

EDUMECENTRO 2023;15:e2554



Prevention of suicidal behaviour in adolescents, a necessity in Primary Health Care

Prevención de la conducta suicida en adolescentes, una necesidad en la Atención Primaria de Salud


Yamila Borrayo Second1*
Yunieski Escobar Zorrilla2
Alina Moraga Mendoza2


1 University of Medical Sciences of Havana. Faculty "Calixto Garcia". "Marcio Manduley" Teaching Polyclinic, Mental Health Department. Central Havana Municipality. Havana Cuba.
2 Provincial Directorate of Public Health. Havana. Cuba.


*Corresponding author. Email:




The course "Prevention of suicidal behaviour in adolescents, a necessity in Primary Health Care" was a valuable experience in the Centro Habana municipality. It was structured into eight topics, aimed at nurses who work in the community, the trainees obtained very meaninful knowledge for their professional practice because the topic is relevant to the level of care.

MeSH: nursing;health postgraduate programs; suicide; education, professional.


El curso "Prevención de la conducta suicida en adolescentes, una necesidad en la Atención Primaria Salud" constituyó una experiencia valiosa en el municipio Centro Habana. Estuvo estructurado en ocho temas, dirigido a las enfermeras que trabajan en la comunidad, los cursistas obtuvieron conocimientos muy significativos para su ejercicio profesional porque el tema es pertinente para el referido nivel de atención.

DeSC: enfermería; programas de posgrado en salud; suicidio; educación profesional.



Submitted: 20/11/2022
Accepted: 04/03/2023



The course "Prevention of suicidal behaviour in adolescents" was conceived for the nursing staff of the Centro Habana municipality. It was presented to the scientific council and accredited by the "Calixto García" faculty to provide Primary Health Care nurses with the necessary tools for their performance on the subject. Nursing has ceased to depend on other disciplines and has become an independent profession with its own methodology for its development and application based on a scientific conception in the identification of risk factors associated with health problems.(1,2)

Suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents has increased in recent decades, according to foreign statistics, which is cause for concern for health professionals, teachers, parents and other social groups. Cuba is not exempt from this problem, since suicide has been increasing in recent decades until it is among the leading causes of death.(3)

This course is the logical consequence of a long process of pedagogical preparation aimed at the nursing staff of the Primary Care of the Centro Habana municipality that will provide the necessary tools for the care of this age group in which an increase in suicide attempts has been observed since the 2017, the year in which the investigation of this subject began in the doctoral training of Medical Education Sciences.

The research carried out in the community was aimed at adolescents in the 15 to 19-year-old group and the female sex. Suicidal ideation in adolescents was determined as the predominant risk factor, motivated by family problems in dysfunctional families, low self-esteem, impulsiveness, poor communication in their environment, either social, family or love, which caused them to isolate themselves from the environment. social environment and they will look for the suicide attempt as a way of solving their problems.

Taking into account that postgraduate education must reconstruct a new education that prepares the human being to adequately respond and overcome the challenges posed today, (4)it was decided to design and teach the aforementioned course with the purpose of preparing the students from the pedagogical, political-ideological and scientific point of view, to face the situation raised regarding suicide in adolescents. Hence, the general objective was defined: to apply, in the family medical office, the theory received to improve nursing performance in the prevention of suicidal behaviour in adolescents in primary health care to address the different problems in the community, both educationally and psychologically.

They were defined as specific objectives: describe the functioning of mental health services, explain the ethical and legal aspects for nursing staff in the care of suicidal behavior, and identify the presence of suicidal behaviour in adolescents, among others.

In the teaching process, methods were used that fostered research, reflection, and assessment, supported by the role of the teacher as a facilitator; the interest was focused on the student as a responsible entity, self-manager of their learning process and committed to it. The didactic principles were fulfilled as regulatory and normative elements that lead to the transformation of the student; and therefore, essential in the achievement of a correct direction of the educational teaching process.(5)

According to the assessment of the specialists consulted with proven teaching experience in the undergraduate course, the proposed course was relevant, it responded to the need for training of nursing staff in the prevention of suicidal behaviour and its contents were in correspondence with the academic level of the participants, in addition to considering adequate the scientific and methodological treatment of the themes and their contribution to the formation of values.

The teaching activities were characterized by rigor, prudence, and the evaluation of various situations for the design of health actions aimed at preventing suicide attempts in adolescents in the community. The impact of the activities was demonstrated in the decrease in such attempts, in the last year.

Agile and simultaneous training emphasizes that clinical judgment always prevails, since the recommendations may vary according to the evolution of knowledge about people, the disease and the specific situation. The training must be continued, reinforced, repeated, and planned, aspects that favoured the achievement of the proposed objectives. In its implementation it was possible to measure the level of appropriation of the nurses' knowledge and the acquisition of practical skills for the mental health care of these adolescents.

At the end, the trainees reported satisfaction for overcoming the proposed objectives and being able to apply in their community the knowledge acquired for the prevention of suicide attempts in adolescents.



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2. Cortés Alfaro A. Curso: Conducta suicida y su prevención en niños y adolescentes. Método de evaluación y programa del curso. INHEM; 2017.

3. Manual de prácticas para el establecimiento y mantenimiento de sistemas de vigilancia de intentos de suicidio y autoagresiones. Washington, D.C.: Organización Panamericana de la Salud; 2018.

4. López Espinosa JG, Lemus Lago ER, Valcárcel Izquierdo N, Torres Manresa OM. La superación profesional en salud como modalidad de la educación de posgrado. EDUMECENTRO [Internet]. 2019 [citado 25/05/2020];11(1):[aprox. 14 p.]. Disponible en:



Declaration of interests

The researchers declare they have no conflict of interest.



Contribution of the authors

Product design: Yamila Borrayo Segundo
Writing and revision of the article: Yunieski Escobar Zorrilla, Alina Moraga Mendoza

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