Worldwide, over 800,000 individuals commit suicide each year, and suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals aged 15–29 in 2012. The aim of this study is to learn about the circumstances, motivations and consequences of suicidal behavior, it is based on narrative data from our 2007 interviews with 16 patients in a Nevada state mental hospital hospitalized for self-harm or suicidal ideation that were analyzed using framework analysis.
During economic hard times, with publicly subsidized mental health care cut to the bone, this analysis suggests that suicidal behaviors may be the only viable option for troubled and poverty-stricken individuals to obtain immediate psychiatric care. The conclusions in this paper suggest Government-subsidized funding for outpatient mental health care should be sustained or increased during economic recessions to protect the most vulnerable from suicidal behavior when it is the only viable path toward immediate psychiatric treatment.
Background: Most research on suicide is quantitative, and qualitative research is needed to reveal how individuals subjectively experience and account for suicidal behaviors.
Aims: The aim of this study is to learn about the circumstances, motivations and consequences of suicidal behavior among individuals hospitalized for attempted suicide and suicidal ideation during the global economic recession.
Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with in-patients hospitalized for suicidal behavior in a state-subsidized public mental hospital and analyzed with framework analysis.
Results: Interpersonal conflict in the context of severe economic hardship and inadequate mental health care preceded suicidal behavior, rescue and a subsequent respite from desperate situations. Attempted suicide led to increased attention and concern from loved ones and immediate access to mental health care.
Conclusions: Government-subsidized funding for outpatient mental health care should be sustained or increased during economic recessions to protect the most vulnerable from suicidal behavior when it is the only viable path toward immediate psychiatric treatment.
Marta Elliott, Dara E Naphan, and Barbara L Kohlenberg
Suicidal behavior during economic hard times
Int J Soc Psychiatry August 2015 61: 492-497, first published on October 30, 2014 doi:10.1177/0020764014556391