Year: 2023 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2023). 1-12. DOI: SIEC No: 20231702

The purpose of this study was to explore the psychological experiences of emergency department staff in northeastern Sichuan when treating patients with suicide attempts and to provide a theoretical basis for developing appropriate clinical interventions and improving mental health services for suicidal patients. Sixteen emergency department staff members who met recruitment requirements at two hospitals in Nanchong, China, were interviewed using Colizzi descriptive phenomenological analysis. The interviews were in-depth and semi-structured. The qualitative analysis of this study revealed three main themes: (1) aspects of the emotional experience that may be detrimental to helping people in crisis (e.g., sympathy and regret, confusion and bewilderment, worry and stress); (2) aspects of the cognitive experience (e.g., inability to deal with patients’ psychological issues and having new perspective on the medical profession); and (3) raising awareness of mental health services. Future reform efforts should consider training medical staff in suicide prevention knowledge and communication skills, using a compassion-centered approach to alleviate the suffering of patients who attempt suicide, using the Safety Screening Scale (PSS-3), providing counselors for patients, developing family-focused interventions, and involving family members in suicide risk prevention and treatment.