The purpose of this study is to explore how former suicidal inpatients experienced treatment and care in psychiatric wards in Norway following the implementation of the National guidelines for prevention of suicide in mental health care. The focus of the analysis was on aspects of treatment and care with potential for improvement.
We interviewed five former inpatients and analysed the data by means of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Experiencing a sense of companionship with the staff and receiving individualized treatment and care was important for the participants. This involved establishing trusting connections with mental health workers who treated them with respect, made them feel valued, and who recognized their suffering and needs. The formerly suicidal patients experienced being in a recovery process, which was promoted by the support of mental health workers. Although the participants reported mostly positive experiences, there were examples of insufficient care. Sometimes, they felt that their suffering and suicidality were not sufficiently recognized.
Our study indicates that although there has been increased focus on suicidality in the mental health services, among other through clinical guidelines, some mental health workers still lack competence and should focus more fully on how to provide individualized care for suicidal inpatients.