Teen suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15–24 year olds. A clear understanding of what the experience of being suicidal means to adolescents living the phenomenon has not been clearly addressed in the literature. The aim of this research was to generate a comprehensive interpretation of the experiences of six adolescents who visited the ED following a suicide attempt, using hermeneutic phenomenological methodology. Participants ranged in age from 15 to 19 years old, and all had been hospitalized for their attempt. Two patterns emerged: attempting as communicating and attempting as transforming. Underlying themes are described in detail. The findings have implications for nursing practice including how to assess and intervene with adolescent suicide attempters.
In the United States, suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents age 15–24 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Extensive research has been done regarding the prevalence, incidence, risk factors and various other descriptions of adolescent suicide; however, no research has led to a decrease in adolescent suicide. Suicidal behavior is on a continuum ranging from ideation and attempts on one end and to completion on the other end (ten Have, et al., 2009). Previous suicide attempts are a risk factor for completed suicide (Nordentoft, 2007 ; Ronquillo et al., 2012). The pathways that lead to suicide completion are complex, however research on suicide attempts can lead to a greater understanding in how to prevent suicide (Miranda, Ortin, Scott, & Shaffer, 2014).