Year: 2023 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2023). 27(2), 505-521. SIEC No: 20231060

Teenaged boys die more often than girls by suicide, although they report fewer suicide attempts and seek less care. The aim of this work is to explore the subjective experience of adolescent suicidal behavior to determine the aspects that are common to adolescent girls and boys and those that are specific to one gender.
The study included 22 adolescents receiving care for suicidal behavior. The semi-structured interviews were analyzed according to the methods of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Three themes of experience emerged: the experience of suffering, connection to others, and courage. The individual and interpersonal dimensions highlight feelings that they are not understood by others and are isolated. Young boys experience relationship difficulties more as rejection, and young girls describe a fear of being abandoned, for which they feel responsible. Boys and girls have different definitions of courage: boys sometimes appear to value the courage to risk death, while girls perceived risk—and therefore courage—in seeking help.
Specific prevention programs must focus on the perception of care and its representations. By positioning the experience of adolescents as expertise, these programs would thus better respond to the expectations and the reluctance of this audience. Gender attitudes that are harmful to the use of care can be addressed and worked on. By separating the reception of care from the demeaning representation common among teens, these can be linked to a notion of shared vulnerability and interdependence and enable earlier recourse to treatment.