‘A Safe Place Where I Am Welcome to Unwind When I Choose to’—Experiences of Brief Admission by Self-Referral for Adolescents Who Self-Harm at Risk for Suicide: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

Evidence is lacking on how to manage imminent suicidality in adolescents with self-harm. Brief Admission by Self-referral (BA) is a crisis-management intervention, developed for adults with self-harm at risk for suicide. Structured, individualized and based on responsible autonomy, BA aims to provide a respite while minimizing negative effects of hospitalization. This qualitative interview study illuminates adolescents’ experiences of BA, adapted for this target group. Nineteen adolescents aged 14 to 19 years, described BA as helpful for timely rest and recovery to save themselves from impulses to self-harm. The individual contract, which is a prerequisite for access to BA, was perceived to give access to professional support in a safe environment, also among adolescents not using their contract. Being trusted with responsibility to self-admit was also hard work with struggles of self-doubt. Challenges included experiencing distrust from staff and fear of not being able to abstain from self-harm, which BA is conditioned upon. However, this condition was also perceived to induce self-motivation and growth. BA appeared well-adapted to the target group, fulfilling needs of predictability, autonomy, and opportunity for recovery to prevent self-harm. Suggestions for improvement included continually informing staff about important features of BA. To further evaluate benefits and challenges of BA, future research may evaluate clinical and health-economic outcomes and perspectives from parents and caregivers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number300
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychiatry
  • Nursing

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