Year: 2023 Source: Journal of School Health. (2023). 93(3), 206-218. SIEC No: 20230786
Background Suicide rates among adolescents increased over the past few decades. Following psychiatric hospitalization, many adolescents return to school, a context that can influence recovery. Families can play an integral role in supporting adolescents through the hospitalization and school reentry process; however, little research has focused on family experiences during adolescent school reentry. Grounded in ecological systems theory, the aim of the present study was to explore the experiences of caregivers whose children were hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs) and provide recommendations for the school reentry process. Methods In-depth interviews were conducted with caregivers (n = 19) whose adolescents returned to school following hospitalization for suicide-related crises. Researchers analyzed the transcribed interviews using applied thematic analysis. Results Themes emerged regarding academic difficulties during hospitalization; breakdowns in communication between schools, families, and hospitals; logistical challenges during the school reentry planning process; and challenges navigating peer relationships and academics following school reentry. Implications and Conclusions Few reentry recommendations account for the specific challenges faced by families. Recommendations informed by caregiver experiences are needed to ensure that families can effectively support the recoveries of their children. This study presents caregiver-informed recommendations to facilitate an improved reentry process for caregivers and adolescents.