In Australia, the number of young people presenting to the emergency department with mental health concerns, in particular, suicidal behaviour (defined here as suicidal ideation, thoughts, intent and attempts) is increasing. Little is known about the experiences of Australian young people who present to hospital emergency departments with suicidal behaviour. In this qualitative study, we conducted a series of focus groups with 55 young people aged 16–25 years, with a view to developing a framework for youth suicide prevention for Western Australia. The data were analysed using a general inductive analysis approach. We explored the experiences and perceptions of the care and management of 35 young people presenting to Western Australian hospital emergency departments. Participants described a range of negative experiences relating to the emergency department environment, staff attitudes and their treatment by staff. We argue that adapting ED practices and approaches to young people presenting with suicidal thoughts and behaviours based on these findings will result in lower rates of repeated presentations and admissions to hospital and lower rates of suicide attempts and deaths by suicide.
|International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
|Published - 1 Feb 2022