Qualitative study on coping resources of people who have survived suicidal thoughts/suicide attempts and are thriving today

Qualitative study on coping resources of people who have survived suicidal thoughts/suicide attempts and are thriving today

Research leader: Arnârak Patricia Bloch, Research Assistant, Center for Public Health in Greenland, National Institute for Public Health, University of Southern Denmark.

Other participants and affiliated institutions: Christina Viskum Lytken Larsen, Professor, Center for Public Health in Greenland, SIF, SDU; Paarisa and Avannaata Communion.

Research area, purpose and research questions:
Native people in Alaska have created strategies to build resilience among young people by creating well-being initiatives and using cultural strengths in the local community. This method emphasizes promoting protective factors rather than risk factors in suicide prevention work. The results of these efforts suggest that interventions that focus on protective mechanisms offer an important alternative to focusing solely on the risk factors. To date, there are no Greenlandic studies on protective factors in suicide prevention.

The purpose of this project is to collect, analyze and disseminate which coping strategies people that have previously had suicidal thoughts/survived suicide attempts have used to choose life and who are thriving today.

The project’s hypothesis is that people affected by suicidal thoughts need to hear how others with the same problems have been fighting to stay alive and succeeded in doing so. The suicide rate in Greenland is among the highest in the world. This has been mapped for decades through epidemiological studies. These studies have also pointed to stressors in childhood and the rapid social changes in the wake of colonization as significant risk factors for suicidal behavior and causes of suicide. What the research has illuminated to a lesser extent are which factors protect against suicidal behavior and which can explain how many, especially young people, survive a suicide attempt and manage to come out on the other side. This study can help produce experience-based knowledge, which is at risk of being lost if it is not systematically collected, analyzed and communicated to citizens. Concrete tools and clear guidelines for how citizen meetings with a focus on suicide prevention can be held are crucial to prevent distress and re-traumatization among citizens in a vulnerable position. This includes the distinction between talking about how you have overcome suicidal thoughts, but not how you have attempted suicide. The results from this study can be used to develop concrete tools and guidelines in close collaboration with Paarisa targeted at suicide prevention work in the municipalities. For example, in connection with the World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September and the ongoing work of the prevention consultants in this area. Furthermore, the results can be disseminated by giving presentations to various authorities and educational institutions. The study will consist of a qualitative study of people who have previously had suicidal thoughts/attempted suicide. The interviews will focus on resources and coping strategies in the time after the suicide attempt/thoughts. With this, the research question is: Which coping strategies do people with previous suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts use to move on and achieve a life of well-being?

Methods for competence building in the form of community involvement and dissemination to society:
Direct knowledge sharing of the project’s results to relevant employees and projects in Paarisa and in the municipalities. Communication of the project’s results via Paarisa’s communication platforms as well as presentations to educational institutions, academic institutions, as well as other organizations and companies in Greenland.

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