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Suicidal behavior during economic hard times

Marta Elliott, Dara E Naphan, Barbara L Kohlenberg
International Journal of Social Psychiatry 2015, 61 (5): 492-7

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.


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