The attempt was my own! Suicide attempt survivors respond to a community-based suicide exposure survey

McKay, Kathy, Maple, Myfanwy and Sanford, Rebecca (2019) The attempt was my own! Suicide attempt survivors respond to a community-based suicide exposure survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 . ISSN 1660-4601 Full text available

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Those who attempt suicide have often been overlooked in the suicide prevention literature. Where stories of lived experience have been included, it is often from the perspectives of healthcare professionals who treat the physical and/or psychological impacts following an attempt, rather than firsthand accounts. Yet, the most intimate insights of suicide are lost by not including the voices of those with lived experience of suicide attempt. Through an online, community-based, non-representative survey exploring the impact of exposure to suicide, a sub-sample of 88 participants responded who reported their exposure to suicide as being their own attempt. The survey covered demographic information, questions assessing exposure to suicide attempts and death, current global psychological distress via the Kessler Psychological Distress (K10) Scale, and short qualitative responses provided by 46 participants. The qualitative data was thematically analysed resulting in three themes; the way in which individuals experienced being suicidal; who they were able, or not, to disclose these intentions to—before and after their suicide attempt; and, how these people experienced the formal and informal health care supports available to them to assist with their suicidal crisis. This paper presents important findings from a sample of participants who are highly distressed, and have previously attempted to take their own lives. This adds depth to our understanding of lived experience of suicide attempt, issues associated with seeking appropriate support after suicide attempt, and also demonstrates a willingness of participants to share their stories, even in a study that did not explicitly target those with lived experience of suicide attempt. The need for consistent and compassionate mental health care after a suicide attempt is identified as a vital component of living well after a suicide attempt.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Research & Development Unit
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Suicide
Department/People: Special Units

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