Living with suicidal thoughts: A scoping review

Rikke Søndergaard*, Niels Buus, Lene Lauge Berring, Christian Blegvad Andersen, Malene Grundahl, Karina Stjernegaard, Lisbeth Hybholt


Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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Background: There is a significantly higher number of people experiencing severe levels of suicidal thoughts compared to that of suicidal deaths and suicide attempts. In suicide prevention research, there is a shift towards greater emphasis on people's experiences of living with suicidal thoughts. This can expand the existing evidence base, which is dominated by a biomedical approach. The aim of this review was to summarise and disseminate existing research on the lived experiences of living with suicidal thoughts. Methods: A scoping review by Arksey & O'Malley consisting of six stages: (1) formulating the research question, (2) identifying relevant studies, (3) selecting studies, (4) mapping data, (5) summarising the results and (6) consulting stakeholders. PubMed, PsycINFO and CINAHL were searched for studies in English, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. Peer-reviewed articles examining people's experiences of living with suicidal thoughts using qualitative methods were included. The search was supplemented with a citation pearl search in the Web of Science database. Twenty-eight studies were included. Results: The findings were organised under two thematic headings: (a) the significance of social connections and (b) a loss of the personal self. Conclusion: There is a need for further qualitative research of people's experiences of living with suicidal thoughts from an everyday life perspective. Awareness about social connections and attachment in mental health prevention and governance is crucial. Trauma-informed care could be a useful approach to prevent suicidal thoughts as the review found that many participants had traumatic experiences in both childhood and adulthood. As part of the treatment of suicidal thoughts, it might be useful to have a focus on narrative and communicative methods and their clinical application.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)60-78
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The review received funding from the Psychiatry Management Region Zealand.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic College of Caring Science.


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