Being in want of control: experiences of being on the road to, and making, a suicide attempt

Katarina Skogman Pavulans, Ingrid Bolmsjö, Anna-Karin Edberg, Agneta Öjehagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Attempted suicide is a risk factor for future suicidal behaviour, but understanding suicidality from the perspective of people who have experienced attempted suicide is limited. The aim of the study was to explore the lived experience of being suicidal and having made a suicide attempt, in order to identify possible implications for health care professionals. Semi-structured individual interviews were held with 10 persons shortly after they attempted suicide and were analysed through qualitative content analysis. The participants’ experience of being suicidal and of having attempted suicide could be described as “Being on the road towards suicidal action”, which culminated in an experience of either chaos or turned off emotions, “Making sense of the suicide attempt”, and “Opening the door to possible life lines”. An overall theme, “Being in want of control”, captured their all-embracing lack of sense of control and was seen in relation to different aspects of oneself, overall life-situation, the immediate suicide attempt situation and in the outlook on the future. Being in want of control may be a relevant and general feature of being suicidal. People who have attempted suicide need more adequate help to break vicious circles before they reach a point of no return and enter an acute suicidal state of mind. Patients’ experience-based knowledge is highly important to listen to and use clinically as well as theoretically when constructing suicide prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16228
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Health Sciences (303)


  • Suicide attempt
  • being suicidal
  • patients’ experiences
  • sense of control


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